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.)
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