Sunday, September 27, 2009

Easiest reference transaction ever?

Yesterday a woman approaches the desk.
The woman seriously asks, "Where are the books?"
The question catches me off guard and, taking the bait, I ask her, "Which books are you looking for?"
The woman replies, "All of them."
At this point I get to do a little Vanna White-esque razzle dazzle of the hands to demonstrate that the books are all around us.

Later, this was appropriately followed up by an annoying reference transaction where a girl (who should have known better), comes to the desk and thrusts a stapled copy of her class reading list in my face. She's a freshman at the local university and she needs to read one of the books on the list but her university library is out of all the titles. I glance down and see Things Fall Apart, The Sound and the Fury, Catch-22, The Bell Jar, and so on of classic literature titles for two pages. I notice that along the side of the list she has make various check marks and crossed a couple titles out.
With my fingers ready over the keyboard, I say, "Out of all these, which titles were the ones you were most interested in reading?"
She answers, "I need whatever one has the least amount of pages. My paper is due Monday."
To this response I lead her to the OPACs where she can look up each title and its page number herself. Afterall, there is a line waiting for my services and I am not her personal secretary.


  1. Heh. The time spent avoiding the work is always more than the time would have been just to do the reading in the first place. Silly people.

    Anyway, anyone in high school knows Animal Farm is a very short, easy read with a lot of social and political implications. Sheesh.

  2. Years ago, a student needed to read a book by some famous author (Toni Morrison, maybe?) and was going strictly by page count. He found some children's picture book that clocked in around 32 pages and was quite jubilant. I explained that he probably wouldn't be allowed to use that one and how it was kind of a violation of the spirit of the law. He self-righteously declaimed the rough draft of the letter of the law argument he would probably be giving the teacher.