Dear Auntie Venom,
I feel your pain. My Library is not a public one but the requests we get makes my head spin.
There was the guy who E-mailed us with the request to, 'Photocopy everything you've got on (fill in the blank) and send it to me. I'll pay you a dime a copy for whatever I can use'.
For the record, what he wanted, in a language he could read, would have been at least 1000 pages. I think we're not going to do that on spec.
There was the Dad who called us on a Friday afternoon. His 12 year-old daughter needed a paper on mummies and nothing whatsoever could be found in the public libraries where they lived. Of course we'd write it for her free of charge, add interesting illustrations and fax it to him within the hour. The paper, after all, was due on Monday morning.
The man told me he lived in a particular city that I knew had a wonderful public library system. Any branch library there would have the information needed for a 12 year-old's paper. However, he felt that only a paper written in the most comprehensive Egyptological library in the Western Hemisphere was good enough for his kid. It didn't seem to matter that the child would learn nothing. It also didn't seem to matter that Need I say that, despite the pleadings, "Aw c'mon Lady! She's a litle girl"
did not soften our steely hearts.
Then there was a teacher in a weekend school associated with a local house of worship. S/he ordered up a slide show on 'Animals in the Bible' in exactly the same way most of us would order up a tuna salad on rye from a local sandwich shop (hold the cheese). We were to put together a nice slide show of animal- themed objects in the museum's collection with a script relating each creature to specific mentions in the Bible. The slides and the commentary would become the property of the teacher. Need I say we were expected to do this at no cost to the teacher or the house of worship. We'd also have it available for pick-up within a week's time. Need I also say that what the Librarian who was ordered to do this had to say to the teacher would not be suitable for a family-friendly board such as this one.
Finally, there was the Mom who decided that our Library would be the perfect place for her little Buford to spend his after-school hours. His school was within easy walking distance of the Museum and he loved the subject so. In her mind it was an easy thing. Every afternoon, young Buford would have a place at our Library. He'd come here after school to do his homework and study. Mom would pick him up as soon after we closed as she could.
Without regrets, we had to turn down Mom's great idea. We weren't child-sitters, we had limited seating space and a standing appointment for a 10 year old would mean that more mature scholars would be denied a place. Buford was a nice kid but we weren't going to be responsible for him until Mom saw fit to pick him up.
It's sad because the children of these pushy, entitled parents or teachers are usually the kind of children we like to see. The kids are polite, intelligent and eager to learn. It's a crying shame that their parents won't let them learn at their own pace.