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

Reference Question of the Week ¦ 2/2/14

   February 8th, 2014

syllabus shirtLate one morning, a male patron in his twenties comes up to the desk with what looks like a college course syllabus. He points to one of the assignments, which is listed as a 400-1000 word essay, and asks me if the computer can count the words for him.

Okay, that's easy. I walk back over to his computer with him, have him open Word, and show him the counter in the bottom-left corner.

The patron thanks me, and says that he's nervous because the essay is due that night.

After walking back to the Reference Desk, I glance over at him as I sit down, and his computer screen is visible to me. In just the time it took me to walk across the room, he'd already opened YouTube and was watching some clearly-non-homework-related video.

Study breaks are part of the learning process (it was Minesweeper that got me through library school), but it's funny to take them right at the beginning.

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