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

Reference Question of the Week – 5/16/10

   May 22nd, 2010 Brian Herzog

Fax Test PageThis question just made me laugh. A patron calls in and says,

My husband just installed a fax machine on our home phone last night. Can you send me a test page to see if it works?

I made up a test page and send it to her, but her fax machine never picked up. She called back a little while later and said,

We've had a fax machine in our house for years, but it was always the kind you had to answer and then press a "fax" button to receive a fax. He was reading the manual yesterday and found a way to set it so it can answer itself, to receive faxes when we're not home. I didn't think it was going to work, so I'll just set it back the old way and not tell him.

I sent her the test page again after she changed the settings, and this time it went through.

I've never been asked to send someone a test fax page before, but I'm happy she thought to ask the library, and that we could help her. But what really made me laugh was that she wasn't going to tell her husband. And he might never find out, since when it doesn't work, they're not home anyway.

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Reference Question of the Week – 4/18/10

   April 24th, 2010 Brian Herzog

Sam Malone from CheersAt first this struck me as funny, but then I found it sad. In the end, I decided to file it under "good decision."

The phone rings:

Patron: Do you have a fax machine? I need to fax something to my lawyer.

Me: Yes.

Patron: Well, okay. What time do you open in the morning? I've already got a couple beers in me.

This was at 5:15 p.m. on a Wednesday.

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