My new *favorite* patron question is: Does this card still work?
When I get this question, my mind goes through a series of possibilities. Work? How? To scrape ice off your windshield: yes. To use as a back scratcher: yes. To clean underneath your fingernails (seriously, I’ve seen this done in the library. I will never use a patron computer/keyboard if I can help it): yes.
What patrons mean to ask is either: Can I still check out items with this card? or Can I get on a computer with this card? Now, if they just started with one of these questions, then I wouldn’t have to do a bunch of follow-up questions.
Sometimes, I amuse myself by asking in response, “Work how?” hoping that I will get a choice answer like those described above. It hasn’t happened yet.
Patron: Does this <showing me card> still work?
Me: Let me check for you. Do you want to get on a computer?
Me: Do you want to check out a book?
Me: (Sigh). Well, the card expired last week. Do you have a photo I.D.?
Patron: Not with me.
Me: O.K., well, I see that you do not have any fines, so if you had a photo I.D. or other current address verification then I could renew your card for another year.
Patron: But does it still work?
Me: How do you mean? You can use the computers, but you cannot check out items.
Patron: But can I read the newspaper?
Me: (double sigh). Sure. <handing back card> Just bring in your I.D. another time to update your account. The newspapers are right over there.
Me: No problem.