or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week ¦ 2/9/14

   February 15th, 2014

I would say right off the bat that this post is NSFW, but it happened to me at work so it must be okay. Just, be warned(ish).

One slow afternoon, after school, a girl who was probably about fourteen came up to the desk and asked for books on learning to draw. Specifically, she said, she wanted to draw people.

No problem - in fact, the 740s are right near the Reference Desk. I walked her over, skimmed the titles, and pulled one down called Step-by-step guide to drawing the figure. Sounds promising, right? The cover shows artistic-looking sketches, no problem there, and just what we're looking for.

No, the problem came when I flipped open the book to see if the inside was what she was looking for. Hover your mouse over the image below to see the first page I flipped to*.

The patron didn't seem phased, but it's not often I show naked pictures to fourteen year old girls. Not just an image, mind you, but an actual photograph of a naked woman. I know this is perfectly normal in the life of a librarian, but, I don't know, it just took me by surprise and felt weird.

But it did turn out to be what she wanted, so the patron took that book and another one we found, and she seemed happy.


*I have two theories on why I was able to flip right to this page:

  1. Either I have an uncanny ability to find naked women, or (and more likely),
  2. This is the most popular page in the book and the spine has been broken by previous readers (perhaps fourteen year old boys)

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