Expectations for Librarians

Librarians field many questions. Some are intelligent, well-formulated and thoughtful. Others are…not. Here are some of my favorite odd questions and ironic situations, taken from my own experience, the experience of other librarians I have known, and, as noted in the text, from magazines and blogs.

*Patron: “I cannot find the book I need in the card catalog!”

Librarian: “If it is not in the card catalog, we do not have it.”

Patron: “I know you have it. My professor said so.”

Librarian: “What is the title of the book?”

Patron: “Interpretations of ‘The Great Gatsby’ from the 12th Century.”

*Patron: “Can you help me find a play by Shakespeare?”

Librarian: “Sure. Which one?”

Patron: “William.”

–Reader’s Digest

*Patron: “How can you tell the difference between King Louis VI, King Louis VII and King Louis VIII? Aren’t their last names pronounced the same way?”

*Patron: “Where are your history books?”
Librarian: “What kind of history?”
Patron: dead serious, “Books about stuff that has already happened…”
–from StaceyLyn on www.librarything.com

Librarians across the country also get requests for resources that would be…rather difficult…to obtain. Such as full color photographs of dinosaurs, George Washington, or Saint Benedict.

*Patron: “Could you help me find a picture of Saint Benedict?”

Librarian: “Sure. What picture? Is there a particular statue or painting that you liked?”

Patron: “No, just a picture of Saint Benedict.”

Librarian: “So, any painting or statue?”

Patron: “No, I just want a picture of Saint Benedict.”

*One girl asked a librarian for a photograph of the Underground Railroad. The librarian told her runaway slaves did not stop to pose for photos “nor did those illegally assisting them. I do think she [the patron] had in mind that some sort of subway train was involved.”

–from a post by Nycticebus at www.librarything.com

*Patron: “I’m looking for a globe of the earth.”

Librarian: “We have a table-top model over here.”

Patron: “Don’t you have a life-size one?”

Librarian: … “Well, it’s in use.”

–from www.rinkworks.com

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