Friday, October 20, 2006

"My boyfriend thinks I lost my true calling to be a librarian." - Paulina Porizkova

Microcosmic view of BabelBabe's life as a reference librarian:

Where is the bathroom/copier/elevator?
Can I get a room [study carrel]?
What time do you close?
I need this New York Times article from September 16, 2006.
Do you have the book Birth Right?
How do I print?
My Microsoft Word document is all messed up, can you help me?
[Ten minutes later, after I reload the doc template, save in plain text, and show him how to turn on and off the editing marks] I don’t have all night! How do I print this?
Is flexcash the same as Virtual Cash?
What time does the commuter lab close?
I gotta hit the john but when I get back can you help me think of a synonym for ‘businesslike’?
Do you have the movie “Bowling for Columbine”?
I pay thousands of dollars in tuition, what do you mean we don’t subscribe to that journal?
Are there any good Chinese restaurants around here?
I am looking for information and statistics about minority groups in graduate school.
How do I print?
My computer won’t log me off.
[From an irate alum] I paid thousands of dollars in tuition, what do you mean I can't access the electronic databses from home anymore?
What time do you close?
Is the coffee from the vending machine any good?
Can I request this book from another library?
My computer is not recognizing my thumb drive.
What is my ILL/WebAdvisor/Blackboard/Yahoo/Hotmail/DNet/login password?
Do you have a book about neuroscience?
I pay thousands of dollars for tuition, why do I have to pay for printing?
Where are the film directories?
My disk is stuck in the computer. [When the IT guys finally got it out, there was GUM all over it.]
Do you have full-color anatomy atlases?
How do I print?
Can you give me directions to the South Side?
I need to know the chemical properties of ammonium bicarbonate.
How do I print?
Do you know what Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s religious affiliation is?
Where are the magazines?
What do you mean, they’re shelved alphabetically?
Wow, I’m a senior and this is the first time I have been in the library.
Can you give me the phone number for Milano Pizza?
Can you tell me what the Italian word ‘stonato’ means?
My teacher put a book on reserve, can I have it?
What does non-circulating mean?
I need primary sources on World War I aviation. But I don’t know what a primary source is.
I’ve been here for two years and have never been in the library before, can you believe it?
I need this article from this German journal, but I need it in English.
What time do you close?
What time does Starbucks close?
What time do the cops stop ticketing?
I’m writing an annotated bibliography on John Donne and need more books.
How do I print?
Can you give me the phone number for the Papal Nuncio?
Is there a color copier here?
Can you show me how to get back to page one of my document? [This guy was writing a disgustingly graphic paper, ostensibly on sexual identity for a psych class, and was clearly enjoying asking all the female librarians to proofread/save to disk/change margins, etc.]
I need information on Starbucks’ advertising campaigns.
Can I pay someone to make these copies for me?
What time does the bookstore close?
What do you know about APA style?
I need articles about jurisprudential inquiry in social studies.
How do I print?
Do any of these computers have PowerPoint on them?
I need literary criticism on Sylvia Plath’s poem “Mirror.”
What time do you close?
My computer won’t log me off.
This is my first time in the library.
How do I print?
What do you mean, I have to pay for printing? Do you know how much I pay for tuition?
Can you tell me something about the judges for "Dancing with the Stars"?
[See if you can guess which questions come from our resident crank caller...] I need the Italian word for 'judge.' Oh? That's not what my Italian dictionary says it is!
I can't get the link to this journal to work.
I am looking for newspaper articles about the Titanic.
I need to write a paper about Jewish culture. NOT Jewish religion, Jewish culture.
How do I print?


And you all thought it was so glamorous...

My all-time favorite question was this, whispered to a coworker by a sweatshirt-hooded boy looking for his class:

"Why am I here?"

And S is such the consummate librarian that she had an answer for him!


Katy said...

It isn't glamourous, but it still sounds interesting.

Kathy said...

You get less "Where's the bathroom?" questions than I do. I'm allowed to say no to all questions about Microsoft Office products because we don't have them on our computers -- the question I get after explaining this then becomes, "Why don't you have Microsoft Office? Do you know how much I pay in tuition?"

Badger said...

Now, see. That's why I hate people.

lazy cow said...

Please don't tell me that's all in ONE day. It would test even my patience levels (and I'm always polite to 'customers')

tut-tut said...

All I can say is, having worked in a very small town library means you also provide childcare . . .

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is, when I think of being a librarian, I think of being surrounded by books in a quiet, serene space. Not at all - you are on the front line of the service industry.

Gawd, I'm exhausted just reading your recount!

MsCellania said...

I'd have to start drinking on the job. Or handing out business cards printed with
"You are cordially invited to Go Fuck Yourself!" in elegant cursive.
You are a SAINT!
HAAAA HA - WV is bugggrf
'bugger off'

Anonymous said...

Son #1 is doing a school project on Hannibal at the moment and so I dropped him at the local library, telling him to ask the librarians if he couldn't find anything appropriate. He was horrified and nervous, but I assured him that librarians spend their days telling people where the toilet is, and showing them how to print, and they would LOVE to do some research and help a 12 year old find interesting historical stuff. That's why they become librarians, etc, they ENJOY research.

I went to get him 20 minutes later and he was gushing about how the librarian practically fell on him in her enthusiasm and INSISTED on printing out all this stuff for him and loading him up with books. He couldn't get over how nice she was and how much she did for him!

He is now hooked. Not to mention impressed and grateful.

(Suse, can't sign in tonight)

Kathy said...

tut-tut: I work in a university library in a not small town and we recently had to develop a policy stating specifically that children under 14 had to be accompanied by a parent or guardian -- if we can't find the parent or guardian in a reasonable amount of time, we have to call the campus police. That's how much of a problem people dropping their children off for babysitting had become.

Caro said...

I wanted to print out your blog entry, but I couldn't figure out how. How do I print?

Sarah Louise said...

Librarian to librarian: it's all true. Although, I get a few more, "I'm going to be a mystery reader at my 2nd grade son's class, can you recommend a title?"