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

Reference Question of the Week – 5/19/13

   May 25th, 2013

Even the most rotten weeks can have bright spots - and here's a spectacularly shining example of why working with the public can be rewarding.

Just opposite my library's Reference Desk are doors leading out to our courtyard. While I was sitting at the desk, a mom and her three year old daughter came in from the courtyard and walked right over to me. The mom encouraged her daughter to ask me her question, but the little girl froze and went into the hide-behind-mom's-leg defensive position.

So, the mom asked:

We were outside and noticed the bird bath was dry. Do you have a watering can so we can fill it up, because she feels bad that the birds can't get a drink.

I'm sure we have a watering can but I have no idea where it is, so I went into the staff room and grabbed a pitcher. Both of their faces lit up when I came back out to the desk, and they took it back out into the courtyard:

filling the bird bath

I was pretty happy throughout this entire exchange too, and wanted to snap a photo before the moment ended. When the mom returned the pitcher and said thanks, I showed her the pictures I took and asked if I could share them.

This is one of the best reference questions ever, and I think it was a good day all around at the library - yay, libraries!

Tags: , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 5/19/13”

  1. Nature & Libraries Swiss Army Librarian » Reference Question of the Week – 5/19/13 :: Brian Herzog | Nogginquest's Weblog Says:

    […] See on Scoop.it – Libraries and InformationI really enjoy Brian’s inside view of the library, this has to be one of my favorite posts by the Swiss Army Librarian. When nature & libraries unite both become something special in the eyes of families. It’s is a blog by Brian Herzog mostly about library and technology issues relating to public librariesSee on http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net […]

  2. Audra Says:

    Yay indeed. I had a patron ask me if she could borrow my fleece coat while she went to Mass outside. I smiled and said of course. I can’t explain why this made me feel so good about my job but it did.

  3. Stephanie Says:

    Thank you for sharing this lovely story. It made me smile during a rather crummy week.

  4. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Audra: that is great, and very nice of you – I don’t know that I would have done it. I have given people rides before, but am always a little nervous about it.

    @Stephanie: you are welcome – I hope your week is getting better.