Setting: library at a prestigious university in upper Manhattan
Scene: a graduate student weighed down by two sweaters, a heavy winter coat, a full backpack and a purse is clutching a small square of white paper that has five call numbers scribbled on it. She walks to the back of the library and then up to the front, looks around, and then finally approaches the main desk.
Student (trying to will herself not to sweat): Um, this will probably be the dumbest question you get all day but, um, are all the books at the main library?
Librarian (looks confused): No.... ??
Student: Okay, so, um... (leans in and lowers voice) Where are all the books?
This Tuesday, I went into my school's library for the first time, even though this is my third semester there as a student. Shameful, right? I just hadn't needed to go before. I was able to complete my work with books I had at home and articles I accessed online.
But now - now I needed/wanted specific books. And I couldn't find them!
Librarian: If you go out the door there, there's a stairwell to your right and you can head up to the other four floors of -
Student Me: Four?
Librarian: Yes, the library has five floors. The books are in the lofts.
Me: The lofts?
Long story short, these books are in a wacky system. It's like having two floors of books for every one floor of library. So I did a lot of running up and down stairs and by the time I got back to the main desk, four books in hand, I was completely sweating. I took off my coat and threw it on the floor. I took off my second sweater (what, I'm always cold) and stuffed it in my backpack. I took off my scarf (see: always cold) and stuffed it in my purse. I put my purse and backpack on the floor and put the books on the table.
(Other) librarian: Ooookay, let's see. These three are due back June 1st and this one is due at ... 6:48.
Librarian: This is a reserve book so you can only take it out for two hours. So it's due back at 6:48.
Me: Uh, well, I get out of class at 6:50 so is that okay?
Librarian (typing): Okay, it's due back at 7:00.