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


Reference Question of the Week – 11/16/14

   November 22nd, 2014 Brian Herzog

in case of emergency signThis question definitely took me by surprised and I don't think I did a great job of answering it.

A patron, who I would guess was in her sixties, walks up to the desk and says,

Do you have a book to tell you what to do in case of an emergency? I've been taking care of my mother but no one tells you what to do if something were to happen.

For whatever reason, my first thought was that "if something were to happen" was a euphemism for "my mother dying" - but then I thought, no, that can't be right.

We do have books on first aid and emergency preparedness, but just to be on the safe side I asked the patron what kind of information she was looking for. She said,

Like who are you supposed to call or what are you supposed to do? I mean other than a funeral home.

Oh, so we were talking about that.

I don't know for sure, but I suspect we didn't have any books that would tell her who to call when her elderly mother dies. Obviously the police would be a good choice, although I don't think I said that. I think ultimately it's the coroner that needs to be informed of a death, but I don't know if anyone can just call them directly. I'm also not sure why she ruled out a funeral home, and I'm sure if arrangements are made ahead of time, they'd know exactly what to do at every step of the way.

I was still thinking along the lines of some kind of resource to give her, but anything like this would probably be more of a pamphlet than a book. I don't think we have any "preparing for end of life" pamphlets like that, but it occurred to me that the senior center might. I mentioned the senior center and she kind of lit up, saying,

Oh, that's a perfect idea. I was going there next anyway to drop off knitting. My mother has a lot of projects started and yarn that I don't think she'll ever use again, so I was taking it there for other people to work on.

Okay. I gave her the name of the senior center's Director and explained how to find the office, and hopefully they'll have what she needs.

After the patron left I felt bad that I didn't have a better answer. I could have called the senior center, or maybe better yet the town nurse, to get an idea of the protocol for when someone dies. But hopefully the senior center staff will be able to give her the information she needs and help her through this time.



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Death By Library

   June 13th, 2012 Brian Herzog

A coworker forwarded this to me:

Tombstone: Unknown Man Died Eating Library Paste 1908

I like this tombstone, but the story is both interesting and sad.



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Library Serendipity

   March 19th, 2009 Brian Herzog

Finding information on library shelves always has an element of serendipity to it, but I experienced a bit of it with my request list and patron donations. Here's what I've been reading/watching this recently:

deadlikemeDead Like Me - I've been watching this series on DVD for the last couple months, and the last movie came in last week. It's about a girl who is a grim reaper, living on earth in secret, helping souls cross over (and it has a frog in it).

 

meetjoeblackMeet Joe Black - I'd never seen this movie, so when a patron donated the DVD, I took it home to watch it. It's about a guy who is death who visits earth, in secret, and helps a soul cross over.

 

blackbookofsecretsThe Black Book of Secrets - I requested this YA book months ago, and it came in last week. It's not about death, but is about the black and sinister secrets everyone carries with them in their lives (and it has a frog in it).

 

blankspotsonthemapBlank Spots on the Map - This is the book I leave at work to read during lunch. It's about all the secret places in the country the government uses for intelligence work and top secret programs - in other words, Black Ops.

 

 

I always have a lot of things on request, and I thought it odd that this group would all find their way to me at about the same time. Perhaps, rather than serendipity or coincidence, this concurrent collection is actually revealing my true nature in all its secretive blacky deathness.

Or, perhaps I just like spies, YA novels, Mandy Patinkin and Brad Pitt. And frogs.



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