This week’s story is definitely one of our all time favorites! We certainly applaud this brave librarian for keeping her cool in what was surely a stressful (and surreal) situation. (And bonus points for the name suggestion…)
Under the category of “Things that they don’t teach you in Library School” how to deliver a baby certainly must head the list. But when the 911 operator tells you to lay your patron flat on her back and stay on the phone because she is going to “talk you through the delivery and YOU MUST be the one to do it if the ambulance doesn’t arrive” the first thing that happens is your heart nearly stops beating! Yes, our patron was in the end stages of labor and said that she thought her water had broken about 1 or 2 a.m. when she came to the library about 5:30 yesterday evening. Why did she come to the library? Well where else do you go when you want information? You go ask a librarian!!
And she asked me four things: for a DVD about labor and delivery, was what happened to her early that morning really her water breaking, did I think that what was happening to her body right then could be contractions, and did that mean that her baby was coming now?
After a few questions (like we do in any good reference interview) it became VERY apparent that she was indeed in labor and that, as a matter of fact, those labor pains were coming every two minutes! That’s when the 911 call went out and I found out that delivering a baby just became part of my job description! Luckily for ALL concerned the Fire Department arrived just as I got the mother-to-be into my private office and they took over the timing. I could tell that they were sweating the arrival of the ambulance as much as I was, however, because by the time the ambulance actually arrived the contractions were coming every 30 seconds. The ambulance whisked her away with me telling her to be sure to name the baby after Melvil Dewey and to bring him in soon so we could get him his own library card!
~“Rachel” Fort Worth, TX
Happy National Library Week!
I wanted to take this opportunity to address my readers personally this week instead of posting our usual Story of the Week. I hope you won’t mind the slight shift in focus for one week!
To all of my librarian readers, I wish you a very joyful week, full of rewarding patron interactions, great literature, and encouraging moments. May you be reminded of the many wonderful reasons you chose to pursue a career in the library; and may you discover new reasons to celebrate all that you, as a librarian and champion of literature and education, stand for in your community and the world as a whole.
To my non-librarian readers, I encourage you to celebrate National Library Week by honoring those who bravely face daily life in a library in your own communities. I can assure you that librarians choose to do what they do because they have a passion for people just like you. Celebrate all that the library stands for: freedom, opportunity, education, imagination and community. May you, too, be surprised by new stories, new knowledge and new hope in a library near you.
National Library Week this year is, I think, more important than ever before. Let’s face it, the year has not been an easy one for libraries, or the people who love them. We’ve gotten a lot of bad news in the past twelve months–from location closures, to budget cuts, to jobs lost. The economy has taken its toll on us, as it has taken its toll on everyone. But with the recession has come a great resurgence in library usage. More people are using the library now than ever before, it seems, and librarians have worked tirelessly to meet this new demand. With limited resources, librarians have had to discover a new depth of creativity, and have served their populations with incredible resourcefulness and pride.
And so, for this National Library Week of 2010, I wanted to thank each and every one of you. Thank you for loving libraries, and for fearlessly serving each person who walks through your library’s doors. Thank you for choosing, every day, to make this world a better place through story, service, sacrifice and an unrelenting devotion to intellectual freedom. I admire you for your courage in these hard times and for your continuing passion and enthusiasm for the jobs you love. You are brave; you are necessary; you are celebrated!
It has been such a privilege for me to share in your stories of library-life in the last year. I have laughed and cried, been hopeful and been disgusted, rolled my eyes and seen inspiration. The Merry Librarian started off as a place for librarians to share their stories, but it has become so much more in the last ten months. It has become a place where people from all over the world can come to witness the library in a new way–a more personal way. It is my continuing hope that The Merry Librarian will remind people of the incredible value of libraries in today’s society, and that the people who love libraries enough to dedicate their lives and careers to them will be celebrated by their communities for more than just this week.
A very happy National Library Week to you all!
With gratitude and hope,
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?”