Out of Shape

Some days, I realize how soft I’ve gotten in libraryland.

No, I’m not talking about my body. Rather, I’m talking about my ability to relate to a segment of the library-patron world that just doesn’t come here all that often.

Today, I’m talking about the returning-to-school in-late-middle-age doesn’t-like-to-use-computers can’t-type will-you-do-it-for-me patron. In past library lives, working at medium-to-large public institutions, I regularly helped people in that category, and helped them help themselves. But working here, in the suburbs, at a primarily residential small private liberal arts college library with an overwhelming majority of traditionally-aged students, I’m just not used to those patrons anymore. Today was my lucky day.

The question? The patron, bless said patron’s soul, was looking for a smallish book of a particular color that s/he found at a different library (up the road where s/he’s taking classes) a while ago but when s/he went back to check it out, it was gone. And it might have been in one of three or five different Dewey classifications that s/he had scratched onto a piece of paper (we use LC). And it was maybe on a particular topic (but s/he didn’t have a title). Possibly. Maybe.

I’m soft. And weak. If I had to walk into a public library to make my living tomorrow, I’d be eaten alive. My library-flesh smells new all over again. Run!

3 thoughts to “Out of Shape”

  1. giggle. i remember those kind of interactions, too. the very first real (and most memorable) reference question i ever had came from two farmers who somehow found their way into the small liberal arts college library where i was working at the time. they had heard on the tv that ostrich farming was a way to make some good money. they were looking to ME to help them find information on ostrich farming. my very first day on the reference desk solo. oye.

  2. This is following a tangent, but now I really want to know if they ended up raising ostriches!

    Being in the general field of IT support, I’ve gotten my share of unreasonable requests over the years, but this particular kind of request would drive me crazy out of my skin. I could probably be diplomatic for about 20 minutes. But if I broke form, I might have made your patron cry.

  3. It’s been a long gime for me too. I’d forgotten this particular type of request (size, color, location in a completely different library….) Good times 🙂

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