Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Super Librarian!

Sometimes the questions are strange, and sometimes the questions are incomprehensible, and sometimes the questions are vague - but when I can come up with the correct solution, I feel like Super Librarian!

In larger libraries, they have specially trained staff for reference work, but in a small library like ours, you take your chances.  As it works out, we each have areas where we are most familiar - Marilyn knows children's literature, Joyce knows non-fiction titles, and most of the fiction questions come to me.  Here are a couple reference mysteries I've solved lately:

Patron:  I want a new book I saw in the bookstore the other day, but I can't remember the title.
Me:  Do you know the author's name?
Patron:  No.
Me:  Ok, can you tell me what the story is about?
Patron:  No
Me:  Do you remember what the cover looked like?
Patron:  No, but the author's picture was on the back and he was wearing a cowboy hat.
Me:  Oh, that would be James Lee Burke.
Patron:  That's it!

Patron2: I want a certain book, but I can't remember the title.
Me: Do you know the author's name?
Patron2: It's Ely something.
Me:  Could it be "Night" by Elie Weisel?
Patron2:  That's it! 
Patron2's Husband:  I told you someone here would know!

Matching someone up with just the book they're looking for is one of the best parts of being a librarian.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Faster than a card catalog...
More powerful than a speeding computer....  Able to leap to conclusions with a single clue...  


  1. It's like Name That Tune - The Librarian Version!!!

    I did that once in a bookstore, but only because the sales clerk asked me if she could help me with anything. So I asked her if they had that non-fiction book with obituaries. Uh, duh. That would be called The Economist BOOK OF OBITUARIES. I didn't feel so stupid though when it turned out they didn't have it in stock. Too bad. Andy would have loved it as a X-Mas gift. He's weird. He likes to read obituaries.

  2. My theory is that librarians become librarians because they love books and reading. They become lovable people after a few years of dealing with all the people's questions you've described. (The ones who don't become lovable leave the business.) I absolutely Love librarians with a capital L. They are the most interesting people in town and, if you get them talking, have the best stories to tell.

    Molly: Andy is not weird, although he may be quirky. Reading obituaries is very cool. It means he's reading biographies - the Reader's Digest version.

  3. This was very funny...people near cease to amaze me, and some librarians are indeed like detectives...LOL

  4. Wow! I'm very very impressed! They are not giving you much to work with!!! You know your stuff! (I'm sure they don't really appreciate how amazing you are though!)