Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rusty Reference.

It happens every time I am away from the desk for an extended period of time.  My first time back on the desk I have a mini-anxiety attack doubting myself if I can handle the next patron inquiry thrown at me.  It takes a couple of patron interactions before I find my groove and get my info-swagger back.  I do feel a little guilty for those first few select patrons who end up asking me more involved questions other than, "Where are the restrooms?" and "What time do you close tonight?"

My first patron interaction after my long New Year's break left me laughing at myself.  An elementary school patron came up and asked if we had any books on manners.  Instantly, the little hamster in my mind starting running in its wheel, my first thought was Emily Post's book on teen etiquette.  I asked her a few questions to narrow down my search and she replied, "Medieval manners."  Okay, so I started focusing on chivalry and knighthood.  I couldn't find anything in the branch that seemed to fit her needs exactly so I walked her over to the 395 area, I told her I would check the Medieval section and be right back.  After I walk back empty handed I find her standing in between the stacks waiting for me when she sheepishly says, "I was actually looking for manors, m-a-n-O-r-s."

I laughed at myself, apologized, and went back to the computer.  I was only able to find a few books with a blurb or two about medieval MANORS, but she seemed content with this because she was just looking for one or two physical books to use for her paper, the rest would be online resources.

Every time a student comes in asking for a book for a school project, we rarely find enough resources on the shelves.  I always ask them if they are allowed to use online resources, but they say that their teachers want them to use books if possible.  Teachers are going to have to adjust their assignment requirements.  If elementary school is supposed to prepare you for junior high, and junior high is supposed to prepare you for high school, and high school is supposed to prepare you for college, well, I never used an physical book for any of my college assignments and I had a LOT of them.  With libraries shifting materials budgets to digital materials, it leaves me wondering, "But what about the children!?!?"

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