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

Reference Question of the Week – 9/21/14

   September 27th, 2014

Grammar Police Badge - To Serve and CorrectThis week's question is a two-fold cautionary tale: first, it illustrates the importance of annunciation enunciation, and second the importance of the reference interview. What I thought I heard initially was certainly not what this patron actually wanted.

A male patron calls the desk and says,

One of my wives' books is overdue - can you renew it for her?

Of course, what he meant was "One of my wife's books..." - it loses a little in the translation to typing it out, but it was pretty clear over the phone. Clearly wrong, though, and it made me laugh. It also reminded me of the joke about the importance of the Oxford comma.

But, item renewed, so everyone is happy (in a very non-polygamous sort of way).

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5 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 9/21/14”

  1. Astreil Says:

    I do hope you mean “ennunciation”. 😉

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Astreil: thank you – if I had read my post aloud, I could have proven my own point. I guess that’s what I get for being raised Catholic.

  3. Astreil Says:

    By the way, I love your blog. I’ve been subscribing for about a year. I was a wannabe librarian for years as I home schooled my kids. Now I work as a Circulation Clerk at my local library. I am hoping that my three kids and full time job allow me to go back to school for my masters of Library Science someday. Keep writing the fantastic posts!

  4. Roberta Says:

    I just had an interesting conversation with a friend about the possibility of plural marriage, now that same sex marriage is the law almost everywhere. So your misunderstood phone call may become reality at some point!

  5. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Astreil: thank you very much! I think more than half of my students in my library program were my age or older, coming to it as a second or third career. So don’t give up.

    @Roberta: I don’t know, I see a big difference there. I’m happy to settle for not discriminating against homosexual.