I was looking at some old Town of Chelmsford annual reports recently, to research the opening of one of the High School buildings in town. Just by chance, I came across a page that stood out to me (for obvious reasons):
Chelmsford was a much more agricultural community in 1917, so it makes sense that moths could be a big deal, and that the town would have someone inspecting slaughterhouses. But they still made me laugh, and double-check if these positions are still on the Town payroll (they didn't seem to be). History is fun.
Just recently, someone who follows my blog sent me this email:
I have just started a job as a library reference assistant in a public library system in a city of over 500,000 people. I will be in one of the busier neighborhood libraries (there are around a dozen neighborhood libraries and a central library).
Any tips/advice for a new library reference assistant with only patron experience (and that, only checking out books, no reference usage) in a library?
Anyway, I thought I'd put together a Top 5 list for advice for new library employees. It's tricky, as library jobs can be so different, but here's the advice (mostly reference-related) I came up with - please submit more advice in the comments:
Don't be afraid to tell the patron you're new, and might not know something
Don't be afraid to ask coworkers for help (this will also save the patron's time)
When working on a difficult or complex question with a patron, I will get the patron started in one area (say, browsing the right Dewey section) while I go back and continue searching on my own. I find it much easier to think when a patron isn't standing there staring at me, and I think they get more out of it by being involved in the search
During downtime, learn your library's policies and about what resources & tools available to you - the catalog, vertical files, information at the reference desk, etc. (this is especially true for local information, which always seems like the hardest thing to find)