After several months of pretty specific themes on The Merry Librarian, we’re going back to our roots for April! We’ve got a collection of wacky patron interactions, reference desk shockers, and some miscommunication moments worthy of a good, old-fashioned forehead-smack. Moments like these are what it’s all about! (We think…)
I was a young librarian, on the desk, still clueless enough for coworkers to be entertained by me getting the weirdos. My patron approached. “Do you have a phone book for Deerfield, Michigan?” No, I was sorry, we did not, (cue shock! and explanation that we paid for phone books, so didn’t get out-of-state books) but I was sure I could find the number for him if he would let me know what he was looking for. “Well, the Ford Museum.” Okay, so I found him the phone number and asked if he wanted to know their hours – was he planning a trip? “No,” but the hours would be great – he’d been there. Could he call them from the library phone? No, he could not, but perhaps he could email them? “Can you help me set up an email account?” Sure, I could, no problem. As we moved toward the computers he let me know what he REALLY wanted. “See, I was at that museum, and they had this video for sale about Henry Ford, and I thought I’d call them and see if they could loan me a copy of it.” Ah, well, I was sure we could interlibrary loan that for him. No email necessary! “You DO that?”
My favorite circumnavigation of the question ever.
Thanks to a fellow librarian in Munich, Germany for this next one!
I’m working at a museum library in Munich, Germany. Last month there was a retraining for the new RDA-system which should be presented to us. In the auditorium were over 150 librarians from all over Bavaria, the teacher talked for hours and after five hours one elderly librarian asked:
“And how to deploy RDA in card catalogues?”
The teacher looked very confused.
“This retraining concerns RDA. It’s a system for online cataloging. You’ve got STILL card catalogues???”
Greetings from Munich!
Security Guards at libraries get the wackos, drunks, vagabonds and vagrants…but apparently they don’t get to answer basic questions…
In most of our Branches our security personal are also trained to perform clerk duties, at the Circ desk. One of our Security/Monitor person at our branch will cover the Circ Desk while staff is at lunch or working on a project. I was staffing the Information desk, while he was staffing the Circ Desk. I was helping a patron and noticed that the line was getting longer while patron lined up at the Info desk. I looked over to the Circ Desk a noticed that no one was standing there, except for our security monitor asking patron if they needed help, and they would reply no thanks, then move quietly over to the Info Desk.
I then asked the next patron in line that the person at the Circ desk would be able to help her and she looked at our security person then looked at me and said, “He can’t help me. He is just Security!”
I looked over to him and he says, “All I wanted was a simple retirement job, where are those termination papers?”