Open Thread

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.


  1. Clara

    I am a public librarian who works at a Reference Desk all day (no back office hours because we are as maller library). Most patrons are gracious and sweet people. Of course I have to deal with rudeness on a regular basis, but my question today regards a “nice” patron who comes in every single day and always has a comment about what I’m wearing. He is in his 70s and likes to banter with us. Everyone pretty much goes along with it because he is friendly, but the comments about my hair or clothing are starting to wear on me. I am 30 and dress conservatively, but everyday it’s either “why are you wearing a skirt when it is so cold out?” or “I didn’t know you had an ankle bracelet” or “your hair is more red now.” This is everyday. I actually think of these comments when choosing my wardrobe each morning. It really isn’t an option for me to have a conversation with him or my supervisor, because everyone really likes him. I just need a tactic for discouraging it. Thanks in advance!

  2. Joy

    I’m also a librarian! This patron is exchanging pleasantries — many older patrons don’t have a lot of opportunities for social interaction. I suggest that if you don’t like what he wants to talk about (i.e. your appearance) then you start the conversation with him first. You can talk to him about the books he’s checking out, the magazine he is reading, or upcoming programs at your library. If I were you, I’d steer the conversation towards something where he can meet new people like a book club or a program you heard about at the nearby senior center.

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