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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!