You are a Librarian, aren’t you?

Ah, the age-old question: “You are a librarian, aren’t you?” What a wonderful question! Whenever librarians hear this one, we instantly realize that what the patron really means is: “You are all-knowing, aren’t you?”


Sorry to disappoint you, patrons, but sometimes your questions are too vague even for our advanced minds to answer. It’s rare, of course, but it does happen. ūüôā Thanks to “Bethany” for sending in,¬†what Merry likes to call,¬†an amusing¬†Reference Desk Interaction (RDI). We just can’t get enough of these!

My favorite reference phone transaction involved our extensive sound recording collection.¬† A woman called and asked if we had “that Indian music that was on the radio last night.”¬† Not knowing quite how to respond to an obviously silly question (the caller WAS very serious), I decided to pursue this like any other ref question.

“What was the radio station?” I asked, thinking that perhaps I could locate a play list.¬† The patron didn’t know.

“What tribe was the music related to? I asked, thinking that among our collection I could find music from the appropriate group.¬† The patron didn’t know.

“Was it Native American Indian or Asian Indian?” I continued to ask since we also had a fair amount of Asian music.

“I don’t know!” the patron plaintively said, “but my boss heard it last night and wanted me¬† to track it down.” (She was his secretary.)

“Hmmm,” I said.¬† “I don’t think I’ll be able to find what you want.”

“Well why not? You are a librarian aren’t you?”

While I was very tempted to say something snotty like “Yes, indeed, I am a librarian but I must have missed the classes on Omniscience and Clairvoyance,” I meekly responded, “Sorry, but I really do need more information before I can proceed.¬† Please ask your boss if he can remember anything more.” (and then whack him upside the head with a rolled-up newspaper.)


Send your RDI’s to, or phone them in: (216) 23M-ERRY (216-236-3779)

Attention, Australian readers! We need one or two more stories from your neck-o-the woods to complete our “Librarians of the World” month in March. Send in your crazy down under stories to us today!

4 Responses to “You are a Librarian, aren’t you?”

  • diane:

    I had a frantic mother come in with her son, who had a ridiculously cryptic riddle poem to solve for class. His teacher had told him, “Ask a librarian. They’ll know the answer.” Well…I DID solve it…after a solid 2 hours of work. Thanks a lot, teacher. Yes, I AM a librarian. No, I do not want to solve your students’ assignments because they are too hard for them to figure out.

  • Jo:

    One I get at the desk nearly every day is “Do you have the yellow one?” You mean Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Dog Days? Yes. I can’t tell you how many kids come to me with just the color or cover design and no knowledge of the plot, author, title name etc. What’s crazy is that I’ve sort of figured out what they are talking about now. A lot of times they just look through the Scholastic book fair flyer at school and see something they want, so I try going off their website. Since the majority of paperbacks look different from older hardcover editions it is like pulling teeth to convince some kids that yes, this is in fact the same book as the one they saw in the catalog.

  • Ann:

    Okay I love this one!

  • kybrarian:

    This is for Jo……

    Novelist Plus!

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