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Cockeysville Volunteer Library

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There is a public library in Cockeysville, Maryland which is one of the nicest libraries in the entire state, simply because it is situated in a high end tax district. The assistant manager of the branch, Gretta is a native of Germany, moved here when she was a still a child. She is a huge woman, who some of the customers said should be wearing a metal hat with horns, singing in the opera.

Gretta, has many duties, but her most favorite of all was disposing of used books, DVDs, etc. When she first came to work here, the books were just thrown on a shelf, with a large sign, “Free. Help Yourself” and most everyone who passed by this shelf would take the used/damaged books that were withdrawn. As an employee, I was never allowed to take any of these items, which didn't seem right, so when some CD's or DVD's that I wanted were getting tossed out, I would hide them on the bottom shelf and call my best friend to come in and get them for me. Free books were only free to non-employees (one of Gretta's rules).

Because this library is so rich, when all of the other branches are in financial trouble, Cockeysville is able to purchase new books, at a cost of at least $2,000 each week. Other Maryland libraries are allowed a budget of the same amount, $2,000 a year.

One day, one of the library patrons took an oversized Atlas from the “free” cart. He thumbed through the book, and saw the “free” sign, and puzzled, he walked over to the check out desk, where Gretta was working. He asked her, just to be sure before he walked out of the building, was this book really free?

She assured him that it was. He thumbed through the book again. He said to her, “This is a really nice book. You should charge money for these.”

Gretta replied, “We do not charge for the withdrawn books. They are free to anyone who wants them.”

The man, clearly not comfortable when walking out of the library with a book that was valued over $200.00, took out his wallet & pulled out a ten dollar bill and placed it on the counter. “Here. For the book.”

Gretta said, “Sir, I can't take your money. We don't charge for those books – they are withdrawn. What would I do with the money?”

He replied, “Why don't you put it with the money that you collect for over due book fines?”

It was like a giant light bulb went off over Gretta's head. From that day on, she started selling the withdrawn books for money -- a lot of money.

The same day that the man gave her the ten dollar bill, Gretta, at the end of her shift, punched out and on her own time, she went to work. She pulled the entire cart of books off the floor, into the back room, and started to put price stickers on them.

She priced some books for one dollar. She decided that hard back books were three dollars and some of the bigger books were going to be priced at twenty dollars.

The next day, she collected over one hundred dollars from people who were buying the withdrawn books. The greed bug had bitten Gretta, and it was not going to let go. There was no stopping her now. She even put a sign up, asking for people to donate books, to be given to the branch, that would be sold to benefit the library. She gave out receipts to people who made a donation, so they could use the books they donated, as a tax deduction.

She had all but abandoned her usual library duties, and was operating a used book shop, right out of the branch. No accounting. No one knew what she was doing with that money. She even set up a lock box with a cash bank, to process transactions for the used books – no receipts, no debt card, no credit cards, CASH ONLY to avoid any record.

In one day, the library employees saw over three hundred dollars come in from the sale of these books , IN JUST ONE DAY. She just took it upon herself to do this, and the senior branch manager didn't say a word about it.

This zip code is a rich area, and a lot of people started donating a lot of books, so many so, that they annexed the small conference room, for Gretta's used books store. People donated books. People paid cash for books. Gretta was the only one who had an accounting of all of that money, until one day...

This viking of woman (she was over six feet tall, size 13 shoes, at least 300 pounds, with a beard) made a lot of enemies, because she always had her nose in someone else's business, and she loved to rat people out to the senior branch manager, for no other reason than to get them in trouble. This is what was going to close down Gretta's Used Book Shop.

All of the other employees started to notice that she was no longer carrying her Walmart purse, with a safety pin as a zipper pull. She now had a REAL coach leather purse ($2,200). She started wearing really nice clothes (something she never did before.) She used to eat one cheese sandwich and one peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her lunch – every day, until the book store started supplementing her income. She was now ordering carry out lunches from the Wegman's just two miles away ($20 a day, minimum).

Some of us asked her about the source of her new income and she snapped, “mind your own business” in that Nazi accent of hers. That was it -- the final straw. She was breaking the rules, selling those books, and keeping all of that money as if it was her own, and she would not even share it with the rest of us, who also worked here. She never bought any of us lunch, and she was bringing in hundreds of dollars every single day – she was just so greedy. And she had been getting the rest of us in trouble for years.

One of us documented the income she received for one week, and wrote a short memo that the source from this money was from the withdrawn library books, which Gretta was selling. We all got together and anonymously put together a whole packet of information, about how illegal her actions were and then we did the worst thing: we mailed copies of it all off to the State Governor's office, the County Executive's office, the Library Director's office, and finally, the IRS!


Well, we all waited for the fit to hit the shan, and in typical library politics, nothing happened -- well, almost nothing. The Used Book Shop was permanently closed. The used books? They must all be torn apart, with two people (one to document and one as a witness), and thrown into the dumpster. No more book shop. No more free books. They must all be damaged and disposed of.

Gretta, we later found out, was having an extramarital affair with the Director of Libraries. She was untouchable. We could not believe it. And what about all that money she collected, which never saw its way into the library's budget? We never found out, but suspect she got to keep it all, without ever having to declare it as income. Unbelievable. There was a statement which was circulated by the senior library manager, in which we had to agree never to speak of the sale of books again, or we would be terminated.

We had all heard stories that the Director of Libraries was into S & M. And one of assistants who worked there, whose boyfriend was a policeman, discovered that 20 years earlier, Gretta had been arrested for S & M prostitution.

We figure that she must have had some sort of an “arrangement” with the Director of Libraries and that was why nothing happened to her. Today, she still has her job, and about once a month the Director sends an email-memo to everyone, thanking Gretta for all of the wonderful work she does, for one project or another. She actually gets credit for projects, that she is supposedly working on, that don't really exist. It's like confirmation that her job is safe and she can do no wrong (even if she does).

Gretta now hates all of us, and of course, we all hate her as well. Now and again someone will draw a cartoon of her, dressed in a dominatrix outfit, with a whip and high heeled, laced up, above the knee boots, whipping the director as he lay face down, naked, and tied up and tape it to the door of the staff break room.

All of us hate her, really hate her.

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Tags: avoidbookbooksbuildingchargecollectedconfessiondeductiondirectorydollarsdonatedexecutivefreegermanygovernorirslibrarieslibrarymarylandmemomoneyoff-the-recordofficeprofittaxworking

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    There is a public library in Cockeysville, Maryland which is one of the nicest libraries in the entire state, simply because it is situated in a high end tax district.
  • There were free books, but only available to non-employees. A man offered $10 and Gretta, the assistant manager, had an idea to sell all the books.
  • She started pricing the books and making lots of money, off the records.
  • She started coming in with fancy new clothes, a $2200 pocketbook, and would order out everyday.
  • We documented what she was doing and wrote a short memo, sending it to the Governor, County Executive, and the IRS.