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

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Reference Question of the Week – 11/15/15

   Posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2015 in Library, Reference Question, Service | 3 Comments »

Not all of the reference interactions I post here have a moral, but this one does – and it’s one of my favorite morals. On Fridays, my library closes at 5:30pm. At about 5:25 one Friday, an older gentleman comes down the stairs to the reference area, where most of our public computers are. Now, […]


Reference Question of the Week – 11/8/15

   Posted on Saturday, November 14th, 2015 in Library, Random, Reference Question, Service | 8 Comments »

This started out as a simple question, and just kept getting weirder. On Thursday morning, a patron called asking if she could come in later that day for a one-on-one session. She’d like to work on basic computer skills, she said, because she only uses a computer at the library and senior center, but not […]


Reference Question of the Week – 11/1/15

   Posted on Sunday, November 8th, 2015 in Library, Reference Question | 2 Comments »

When I came in on Tuesday this week, I found a note with a patron’s name and number, and the message, “donate wood.” I thought that seemed interesting, so I asked my coworker (based on the handwriting) what that was all about. She explained that this patron had called the night before, saying that he […]


Reference Question of the Week – 10/25/15

   Posted on Saturday, October 31st, 2015 in Library, Reference Question | 3 Comments »

This isn’t a reference question, but this whole scenario is a service provided by the Reference Desk (usually without incident) that this time ended up being a it’s-funny-because-it’s-true series of problems. So, test proctoring. We do it so often that I created a little info webpage to answer general questions and make us look legit. […]


Children’s Illustrators Auction

   Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2015 in Library, Programs | 2 Comments »

I was at the New England Library Association’s annual conference earlier this week, where I learned from a colleague something amazing her library is doing. The Bacon Free Library in Natick, MA, is having a Children’s Illustrators Auction as a library fundraiser, and it runs from November 1st – 15th. She said they have 80+ […]


Reference Question of the Week – 10/18/15

   Posted on Saturday, October 24th, 2015 in Library, Reference Question | 5 Comments »

Here’s an email reference interaction that took place over the course of a few days this week – it had its ups and downs, but ultimately ended up being surprisingly positive. Everything started with me getting this email from a patron (slightly edited for privacy): I am a student at [university nearby] and I am […]