Librarians share their wildest stories

  • 07/02/2018
Librarians have taken to Reddit to spill their wildest on-the-job experiences.
Librarians have taken to Reddit to spill their wildest on-the-job experiences. Photo credit: Getty

Sleep deprival and stress can make people say and do unpredictable things. However the ones who bear the brunt of exam-time trauma aren't the students, but the librarians who witness it all. 

A Reddit thread asked 'Librarians of Reddit at 24 hour libraries, what's the worst student melt down you've seen?'

Users with personal experience were only too eager to share the funniest, scariest and strangest behaviour they'd seen during their librarian careers.

A user told the story of a young man who spent four days straight in the library and hadn't been getting enough sleep.

"One day he is enraged, just screaming at everyone in his path as he charges up to the Circulation desk. He claimed that someone stole his stuff out of the locker he was using. The librarians go insane as they always do in situations like these. The campus police are called. The row of lockers where his stuff was stored was taped off. They start hunting down security footage.

"Then, a row down, he sheepishly peers around a locker door and says, "Oops." He was just sleep deprived and forgot what locker he was using."

Another told a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of chemically-enhanced learning. 

"One student took something, I don't remember what, and decided that clothing was no longer necessary. He stripped naked up in the stacks and ran up and down the bookshelves with his arms stretched out, throwing all the books on the floor. The police had to basically tackle him since he was so out of his mind on whatever substance or medication he'd taken.

"We were not pleased about having to re-shelve that entire section."

While many students have to take out loans to pay for their (often horrifically expensive) education, others are fortunate enough to have their fees paid by generous parents. However one young man wasn't happy to hear that his money supply was being cut off.

"A student had been in the library all night, and had a phone call with his dad where his dad apparently told him he wouldn't pay for tuition anymore. Student starts hitting the wall and screams 'FINE, I WILL JUST HAVE TO DO GAY PORN THEN.' And kept hitting the wall."

"He must have done well enough for dad to keep footing the bill, because he was back the next semester," they concluded.

A common student nightmare is the thought of losing all one's work without having a back-up. Several commenters revealed they had witnessed that exact scenario.

"The worst was probably the sobbing student whose computer crashed and they hadn't saved their work in hours and hours," one user recalled. 

"This was before Word saved copies of work regularly that could be restored in the case of a computer crash."

One user said meltdowns were so common at the engineering library where they worked that staff had to take workshops on how to console upset students.

"The worst was a student who got a call that they didn't get a summer internship, sat on the railing of the sixth floor stairwell, and was (apparently) going to jump to the ground floor. The night custodian talked her down and now there's a net there."

Other incidents included cold students starting rubbish bin fires, someone throwing up into a bean bag and a patron threatening to kill the library staff if they didn't waive her outstanding fine of $15. 

One commenter brought a more sombre tone to the thread by reminding other users that the education system should not be causing people such mental trauma 

"Two things I learned from this thread: 1. We seriously need better mental health care and awareness. 2. Too many people think this is okay."