Monday, March 20, 2006

Turns out that Spring Break is not that quiet

Last week was Spring Break at campus. This means the students get to leave as well as the faculty. It also means staff has to stay here so the place can stay open. In other words, I was here. At any rate, it was supposed to be a quite week, but since laws like those of Murphy are in force, it could not really be quiet. So, a couple of events from last week.
  • On Monday, our intrepid ILL Librarian had a shift at the reference desk. Shortly after her shift was over, she comes into the reference office and says she had a very strange reference encounter. What could have possibly happened? It turns out that a patron came to the desk asking for some poems. He wanted to find some poetry, apparently for poetry slam event. Now, you may ask what is strange about such a request. Well, the librarian asked a few questions to ascertain the need, and then asked if the young man had tried using the catalog to find some authors he may like. The man said, in a very straight forward manner, "Oh, I don't use the Internet. You see, it's against my personal beliefs." Now, far from us to cause anyone to violate their beliefs, so our enterprising librarian gave him some call numbers and sent him to the appropriate area. The irony? The man had a cellphone with him and apparently he did some text-messaging while he was with the librarian. My guess? It must be a very narrow set of personal beliefs. As of this writing, none of the librarians have been able to find if there is any religion, cult, belief system, etc. that would forbid internet use yet allow text messaging on a cell phone.
  • Now, to wrap up the week, this comes at about 20 minutes before we close the library on Friday afternoon. This time, our resourceful Systems Librarian was on duty. He steps into the office, and he asks for some help. I am at my desk, so I come out to help. At the desk, is an older gentleman who has written down a line, apparently from a poem. He wanted to know who wrote it and what the rest of the poem was. I told the Systems Librarian that he could use a poetry index, and I went to the reference stacks to get it. It took me a moment to recall that I wanted the Columbia Granger Index to Poetry, which can find poems by first line. In the meantime, we did a little googling and some other searches to no avail. Once we got our hands on Granger, we found the line. Now, a Friday afternoon could not be as easy as that. While I was working with our senior patron, one of our faculty members walked in. The faculty member in question wanted a particular book, and he wanted it two days ago, which made him kind of testy. Dr. Testy wanted to look over Books In Print to get the ISBN. Our library stopped carrying BIP a while ago. Hey, that is what Amazon is for these days. However, Dr. Testy was insistent we show him BIP. This threw our Systems Librarian into having to deal with a professor who was in a rush, and to make things interesting, he did not want to log into the computer. You see, our librarian wanted to show him how to put in the ILL request for the material he wanted, but since Dr. Testy was in a rush, he did not feel like logging in. He simply figured he could come to any library computer and help himself. He forgot about a little something called security and its cousin "you have to have an account." He does have an account; he just did not want to use it, but we managed to talk him into it. He logged in, found what he wanted, put the ILL request in. Meanwhile, I was finding the poem for our senior patron, and I gave him the author (William Wordsworth. To add, he did say the author was British). Initially, he just asked me for the Norton Anthology of English Literature, so I got him the call number and sent him out. While he went out, I managed to find the poem in Bartleby. I thus printed it out and walked over to hand him the copy. The patron was very happy, since he had the line running on his head for a while now. In the meantime, our Systems Librarian had served Dr. Testy, and he now has a Dr. Testy story. Can we say trial by fire?
And here we thought it would be quiet and slow.

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