Posts Tagged ‘Crazy Quotes’

When You Ask a Kid A Question…You’re Gonna Get an Answer!

Kids may say the darnedest things, but sometimes, librarians ask the silliest questions! Such is the case with this week’s story. All of us who have worked with children or performed story times know that even the most innocent question on our part can lead to an embarrassingly honest answer from an eager-to-please kiddo. There is just no avoiding situations like this one…unless, of course, you choose to stick to adult reference. Then again, as evidenced by November’s theme, adult reference has its share of embarrassing moments. Guess there’s just no avoiding a little humiliation in the public library!

My favorite “story time” experience was when I had donned a number of animal tails, affixed them to the back of a pair of sweat pants, and pulled each one out at the appropriate time as I read a variety of animal “tales.”  In what can only be called an Art Linkletter moment, I paused, tried to cover the fact that I was having difficulty turning a page, and asked the children if people have tails……
Bad call, story lady……never ask a question you don’t know the answer to…..
One especially adorable, anxious to please, precocious four year old jumped up and said, excitedly, “No, but I have a penis!”
Mom was mortified, all other mom’s were trying their best not to laugh out loud, and I learned to move on, very, very quickly!
~”Wanda” from Wisconsin


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“Wattle” You Read This! (More Tales from the Reference Desk)

Happy Thanksgiving week to our readers in the United States! (To those of you elsewhere, we hope you enjoy your average, run-of-the-mill Thursday this week. 🙂 )

The holidays are all about two things: food and family. While our Story of the Week this week isn’t exactly food-based (unless you are one of our cannible readers…we certainly don’t want to exclude you!), this story does resonate with something every family has in common: miscommunication. Turns out librarians get confused, too. (But only occasionally…right?)

So grab a drumstick (or perhaps a “tofurkey” stick?), kick back in front of the game, and give thanks for the fact that you aren’t working the Reference Desk today!

This was the ultimate in miscommunication for me! 

A patron called the reference desk and said,”Honey can you give me the number for the body parts store?”

My son was currently taking courses in auto body repair, so I thought I could cover this one. I grabbed the Pittsburgh yellow pages and replied:

“Would that be for a foreign or a domestic car ma’am?”

She replied, “No, no honey. You know, the body parts store. Where they got the kidneys and livers and such!”

She wanted the phone number for the organ donor bank, which I was able to give her before I broke up laughing.


Do you have a giblet or two you’d like to share? (We’re talking stories, not turkeys here…) Send us your stories and you could be featured on the site!

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More Straight Talk from the Reference Desk

Well, we didn’t actually plan it this way (though we clearly should have), but apparently November is officially “Reference Desk Interactions Month.” Let’s face it: the best  laugh-out-loud stories happen at the Reference Desk. There’s just no way around it. And so, we proudly continue the theme this week with these fabulous stories–submitted, as it were, by the same person. Sounds like life in “Jedi’s” library is funnier than a drunken Yoda impersonation!

One (thankfully) quiet night on the desk, I received a call from a man with a low, husky voice. He was calling to ask if I had heard about a book that was going to be coming out on the conspiracy between the police and the African Americans. Inwardly rolling my eyes, I told him that no, I had not heard of this book. Did he want to request it? What was the title? Trying to sound scholarly, the man continued to describe the conspiracy and confided that he was actually writing the book himself, and doing extensive research. He was so passionate about his subject that I had a hard time getting him off the phone once I realized he didn’t need anything from me. The conversation got crazier and crazier until I heard a thump in the background on his end, and his already low voice dropped to a whisper. “Um, I have to go. My parents are home.


As a brand new librarian, I was still in the “can be shocked” category, and this one was a doozy.  A phone call came in to the reference desk, and a very ‘normal’ sounding male apologized and said he had a sensitive subject he was doing research on. It was for a paper, he said. He hemmed and hawed around a while before finally stumbling out with the topic of his study:  Which nationality of men have the longest penis? Other librarians have since said they would have hung up on him, but newly minted as I was, I was determined to treat it as seriously as the patron appeared to be. And you know what? There actually are studies to cite on this subject, and I found a few of them.  The ensuing conversation was necessarily vague, since I was at a busy reference desk. To the eavesdropping patron I might have been answering a question on the typical size of vegetables around the world. This call was five years ago, and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember which nationality was the winner.  And I don’t have the heart to search again.


Thank you, “Jedi,” for your stories!

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