Home Addition

Just how far should a librarian go to help a patron? Here is one patron’s expectation of service.

Patron: Excuse me, I need some help.

Librarian: Okay. How can I help you?

Patron: I’m adding an addition to my house and I need help.

Librarian: Okay. Are you looking for information on building projects, home repair, home decorating or something else?

Patron: No, no. I just need some help.

Librarian: Do you mean a book that will guide you through the process of home additions?

Patron: (frustrated) No. I just. Need. Help.

Librarian: I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean. Can you explain what kind of help you need?

Patron: (Takes out a pile of papers and blueprints and spreads them across the desk) Look. Here are my plans. I want to get started, but I can’t do it alone. I need help.

Librarian: Oh, I see! Would you like information on local contractors and builders?

Patron: (stares) Are you kidding? I don’t have the money for contractors.

Librarian: So do you need information on financing home additions?

Patron: (angrily) No! Listen to me! I need HELP. I need you to come over and help me with this!

Librarian: Sorry…Are you asking me to come to your house and help you build the new room?

Patron: Yes! Obviously.

Librarian: Um. I’m afraid I’m not qualified for that. I can give you information on people who are, though.

Patron: I don’t need information. I need help. This is a library, right?

Librarian: Um… Yes…

Patron: And libraries are supposed to help people. I need your help to build this addition.

Librarian: Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. I’m a librarian, not a builder or a contractor. I am happy to help you find a local contractor, though.

Patron: I can’t believe this. You can’t help me? This is ridiculous. Thanks for nothing! (Storms out.)

Submit your stories to us at: submit@merrylibrarian.com!

3 Responses to “Home Addition”

  • Amna:

    Hi, I just discovered your website and find it hilarious! I’m a library technician student and this is like a situation that we discussed right in class! This particular situation had me laughing 🙂

    The class is about how to conduct a reference interview and this seems like a great example of how patrons misunderstand the library’s purpose.

  • Thanks, Amna! We love representing a side of the job that is rarely seen or talked about (other than in the break room, of course!). We’d appreciate it if you spread the word about The Merry Librarian with your fellow students. 🙂

  • […] just about anything else. We’ve had patrons mistake us for janitors, psychics, babysitters, contractors…just to name a few. (Check out our archives for more stories of mistaken identity!)  In […]

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