Does this card still work?

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?

Patron:              No.

Me:                   Do you want to check out a book?

Patron:             No.

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.

Patron:             Thanks.

Me:                   No problem.

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