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

Reference Question of the Week – 2/25/18

   March 3rd, 2018

I've used this exact same technique before to answer a question, but the end result of this one still made me laugh.

A patron I know asked me to put a book on hold for him. Since I know him, I didn't ask for his library card number - I just figured I'd look him up.

Unfortunately, he has a fairly common name, so there were three patrons by that name in the catalog. I didn't know his street address either, but I do know what his pickup truck looks like - so I thought I'd look up these addresses on Google Maps and see if his pickup was parked at any of them. I suspect this is how all reference librarians think.

I type in the first address and switch over to street view. What do I find? Not only was his pickup parked in the driveway, but he was in the yard cutting the grass - case closed!

Of course, you can see him better when you move around and zoom in on Google Maps, but even from the back I was positive it was him. Ha.

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3 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 2/25/18”

  1. Jen Says:

    Bwahaha this is fabulous. I miss your posts!

  2. Micah Says:

    Great post, Brian. I only wish all reference librarians though t so quickly on their feet (alas, I don’t).

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Jen: thank you – I miss doing reference, assistant directoring doesn’t make for nearly as entertaining blog posts.

    @Micah: thank you, but really, whatever works – most of the time when I try this trick, it doesn’t really help.

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