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

Reference Question of the Week – 12/24

   December 30th, 2006

This is a weird one. And I'm getting it secondhand, from one of my coworkers who had to consult me on it:

She said a patron came up to her and asked for books on "where God meets the brain." When she probed for a bit more direction from the patron, he said he was looking for information on things like why the horizon is so long, why there is space between planets, and how God grows trees.

After hearing the theology angle, my coworker took the patron over to the 200s and found some books on intelligent design and creationism. She suggested he browse the shelves to see if he could find the information he was seeking, and then she came back to ask me if I had any other ideas.

Apart from taking the patron into the 500s and giving him cosmology, physics and general science books, I had nothing to suggest. We thought that since the patron definitely had a religious slant to his inquiry, it was not our place to redirect him to science reference, unless he sought additional information.

I never did even see this guy. Apparently, he found what he was looking for while we were talking at the desk and left. Huh.

cosmology, creationism, god, intelligent design, libraries, library, reference question, science

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4 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 12/24”

  1. Volvomom Says:

    Hope it’s ok to comment, seeing as I’ll be going into my own “Horizon” off of Horizon soon (ha-ha). He did end up in the 500’s, and I lead him to a book of Einstein’s theories. The guy was nearly jumping with excitement. He ended up leaving wiht about seven books about creationism, God, physics, and space.

    But you didn’t see him, huh? Do you think he was an apparation of some kind just to me? Hmmm…

  2. herzogbr Says:

    Of course you can comment – especially since I got part of the transaction wrong. I guess I should spend less time typing up blog posts and more time at the desk.

    And in case people are wondering about that “Horizon” reference: Horizon is the name of the SirsiDynix catalog software we use at the library, and Volvomom is a soon-to-be-former coworker. Which, incidentally, leaves us with an opening at the reference desk – if you’re interested in applying, let me know.

  3. Hockey Librarian Says:

    I wonder if this question was touched off by this recent article:

    Lord, is that you in my DNA?
    Author: Christopher, Dean
    Source: Discover; Sep2006, Vol. 27 Issue 9, p72-72, 2/3p, 1c
    Document Type: Book Review
    Subject Terms: BOOKS — Reviews
    RELIGION & science
    COLLINS, Francis S.
    LANGUAGE of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, The (Book)

    Abstract: The article reviews the book “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief,” by Francis S. Collins.
    Full Text Word Count: 548

    ISSN: 0274-7529
    Accession Number: 22060316
    Persistent link to this record: http://ezproxy.drake.brockport.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mfh&AN=22060316&site=ehost-live
    Database MasterFILE Select

  4. herzogbr Says:

    It’s funny you would say that – I saw that review and promptly order that book – I like Johnny-on-the-spot librarianship (I also like saying “Johnny-on-the-spot”). Anyway, I hope he found what he was looking for – collection development is one of the hardest parts of the job for me.