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old time reference desk

This photo was found on the following blog:

I am working the ref desk this Sunday (not a frequent occurence) and thought it would be fun to list all (or at least many) of the reference questions that are brought to me today. Enjoy.

1. request for Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Rodrick Rules (10 year old kid was surprised we didn’t have it ready and ripe for the picking on the shelf. I put a hold on it for him after explaining that it’s a pretty popular title that is rarely seen on the shelf)

2. request to check on the status of a 7 year old’s hold for the DVD Barbie in A Christmas Carol. Had to explain that she won’t be able to get it, as all copies of it are missing. But then we were able to put holds for three other Barbie DVDs, so she went away satisfied. (By the way, the same 7 yr old also apologized for not visiting me at the library last Tuesday, after running into me in the park, and promising that she would. Yes, she is 7 going on 70.)

3. Request for books on the Bill of Rights. Happy 7th grader was sent off with three books on the topic.

4. Convoluted request that a book on hold be transferred to a friend as the 5th grader with the hold had forgotten her card. Was not sure if I should, but went ahead and did this as a one-time-only exception. Profuse thanks were given.

5. Was asked to check a book out by a 6th grader who has a history of asking for special favors. I regretfully told her she will have to wait on line at the circ desk, like everyone else. (Had to be firm, as she has been known to take a mile if given the proverbial inch.)

6. the 7 year old came back with an urgent request for Pony books. Some non fic books on horses satisfied that request… Also a hold was placed for “Penny the Pony Fairy”

7. 12 year old boy, (one of the usual neighborhood mayhem suspects, looking like he’d rolled in the dirt at the local park before entering the library) had been hanging around the reference desk. He and I are buddies, apparently. I worry about him, as he has getting-into-trouble tendencies. But he can be funny and sweet too. He observed and was amused by the request for pony books, asked for a  copy of Penny and Pepper to be put on hold … Am still mystified as to whether this was an ironic or sincere desire to read the book. The hold was placed, to his satisfaction, and he went off to wreak more mayhem.

8. 7th grader requested cooking books. Took the first two I showed her without even glancing at them. Ah, the pressure of so much implicit trust!

9.  a 2nd grader was lurking behind my ref desk… looking like she was half-heartedly browsing the biographies.  I asked her if she would like some help. At first she said no. Then, in a tiny voice, she informed me, “my friend was looking for some plant books before, but he couldn’t find any. He went home.” The plaintive tone and accompanying look on her face was a sight to behold. I explained that he could have asked me for help. “I know,” she said, “I told him to ask you, but he didn’t want to ask…” I asked her if she wanted me to show her where the plant books would be, so she could tell him and she liked the idea. Unfortunately, we are currently clean out of all plant books (There must be a 2nd grade Plants assignment at the local school.) So I explained how they could ask a librarian to put plant books on hold…

10. While the previous reference transaction was taking place, two sisters (grades 1 and 2) snuck up behind me, and asked, “Where are the weather books???!!” They were adorable, in splendiferously matching pink tees and purple pants. They were excited to find so many books on weather. (I guess there is no on-going weather assignment at the time!) One book they were especially excited about: The magic school bus inside a hurricane (the other girl, who turned out to be their friend, informed them excitedly, “Hey, I read that! It’s good!” All went away happy.

11. The three musketeers from #9 and 10 came back to ask if they could take one of our monthly activity calendars. I took the opportunity to encourage them (and their moms) to come to my weekly Arts and Crafts program… (old recruiter habits die hard!)

12. a young woman who teaches daycare came in seeking a book on Memorial Day – so she could do a Memorial Day lesson for her little ones. Unfortunately, our books on the topic are checked out. However I showed her the library’s database page, and how from there, she could access Bookflix for online books she can share with her kids. I was willing to find her some more Memorial Day specific resources, but she seemed in a hurry and pleased enough to learn about the database resources, so I let it go at that.

13. Two teen sisters came in, (grades 6 and 12) , requesting to know, “where you keep the sports books…” After a short reference interview, it was determined that Volleyball is the sport of choice. Thank god we had at least one book on the topic and they were pleased. After that, a quick introduction of myself as the “Teen librarian” and an unashamed plug for them to attend the teen programs at the branch was made. They seemed happy to hear of them, but I doubt they’ll attend, as they seem like mostly weekend visitors, and we don’t have weekend programming for them… ah well… one can hope!

14. One of my usual suspects (spunky 9 year old 3rd grader) came in to ask me to check on the status of her holds. (they’re not here yet). Then we put a couple of movies on hold for her. (Million Dollar Baby and Babel) She sounded excited that Babel takes place in Morocco, which is where her family is originally from. (I think it sounds like a neat film too – I may just put it on hold for myself!) Also, I taught her how to use the OPAC to put holds on for herself. She was astounded that it was possible to do this!

15. —- Whirlwind of boys grades 1, 2, and 3, asking for books on dozens of topics, too fast and oneontopofanother to enumerate, but here are some I remember —

  • request for the Bone series by Jeff Smith
  • dinosaur books
  • books about the Bermuda Triangle
  • mystery books
  • books about facts (i.e. Almanac and Guinness book of World Records type of books)
  • books about saber tooth tigers
  • books about the woolly mammoth
  • a request to know if dinosaurs were alive when people existed
  • what time period did the mammoth exist in? How long ago was that?
  • Dinosaur poop becomes rocks, doesn’t it? (this was prompted by the title of one of the dinosaur books – Jurassic poop : what dinosaurs (and others) left behind.




16. I took a break to eat some mung beans, tindola, and rice. Yum!

17. Girl came to me, asking for the book “Cooking with Mom” (She was puzzled as she saw it on the shelf the last time she was at the library, but it didn’t seem to be there today.) Upon searching it was found that the actual title of the book is Mom and me cookbook : have fun in the kitchen and that the reason it’s not on the shelf is that it has been checked out! So we put it on hold for her. Since she was a new face, I took the opportunity to shamelessly plug my Arts and Crafts program. Her dad came up and heard the tail end of this, and was pleased to hear of this.

18. the 6th grader from #13 came back, now more comfortable with me, having had the “I’m your friendly neighborhood teen librarian” spiel from me, and asked for change for a dollar. Because there’s a bit of a lull I actually had time to go scrounge up some change for her.

19. close to closing – one of the clerical staff came by and asked me how I liked my library school program.. She’s been toying with the idea of going to library school for a long while now.  She seemed to be wanting the push, so I encouraged her, go, go go!!! It’s worth it! We spent a few minutes looking up the commute from her home to the school she has in mind…

and now, we are making the “we’re closing in a couple of minutes” sounds… Most have cleared out…

And that was a Cloudy Sunday in May at my library.

May 2011