Shhhh!

IT administrator pilot fish handles all technology for this midsize public library. A frequent part of his job: repurposing old equipment for less critical or demanding needs.

"I chose an old desktop PC to re-image and put out on the library floor for public use," says fish. "Imaging and setup went smoothly, and I took the repurposed computer out into the library to deploy.

"To fit the PC tower under the desk where it would live, I had to twist it in an awkward orientation up in the air. Upon doing so, there was a distinct metallic sound of multiple pieces falling and clanking together, as if the components inside the case were disintegrating."

Alarmed, fish immediately stops, gently sets the PC down on the floor and opens it up to investigate what would make that noise.

But he finds the motherboard in one piece. The CPU cooler is intact and firmly attached. All drives are screwed in tightly, and nothing amiss is readily apparent.

Still, when he shifts the case in a certain orientation, the clink-clank-clunk sound is loud and clear.

Putting an ear close to the case and gently turning it, fish eventually determines that the noise is coming from the internal floppy drive. Curious, he props the spring-loaded access door open and turns the PC tower so the floppy drive door is facing down.

Out falls $1.25 in loose change.

"My hypothesis: A well-meaning patron attempted to pay a fine or printing fee by putting their money directly into the floppy drive slot," fish says.

"I solved a mystery and earned a bonus!"

Got a true tale of library IT life? Tell it to Sharky -- after all, next week is National Library Week. So send me your story at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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