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

Reference Question of the Week – 9/6/15

   September 12th, 2015

girl on phoneI work with little kids every day, but it's slightly unusual for me to help a kid over the phone. On Wednesday night this week, a little girl called about 8pm, and asked to be transferred to the Children's Room. No problem.

A couple minutes later the phone rang again, and it was the same small sweet voice. She said she'd tried calling the Children's Room twice but no one answered, so asked if I could help her find a book. Again, no problem.

We looked up the two Dork Diaries books she wanted, and placed holds on them. That didn't take very long, and when we were finished I asked her if there was anything else I could do. She said,

Well, yes. I've never called the Children's Room before and they didn't answer. I'm kind of worried something happened to them, so could you check to make sure they're okay?

I tried not to laugh, and explained that there was only one staff person in the room tonight and maybe she was helping someone else on a big project and couldn't make it to the phone, but that yes, I would check. She said thanks and hung up.

It turned out the Children's Room person was just getting back from her break when I checked on her, so all was well.

Another funny thing about this call was that when I said the books were checked out, so we'd request them for her and call when they were ready to pick up, she asked if that was the only option. I thought she meant email or text instead of calling, but no, she meant could we bring them to her house or school instead of her having to come here to get them. Not unreasonable, but I've also never been asked that by a six-year-old sounding voice before.

It's hard to say no to that, but she understood and said she'd ask her mom for a ride to the library.

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3 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 9/6/15”

  1. Jen Says:

    This is the cutest thing ever.

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Jen: it really was. There are lots of phone calls I wish I had recorded because I cannot convey just how crazy the patron’s question or attempt at asking was, but this time what I couldn’t convey was how sweet her little voice was in being concerned about library staff – and her interest in Dork Diaries too. Kids are fun.

  3. Sunflower Says:

    Children with manners & concern for others- love, love, love!

    Had a little boy once ask “Ma’am may I please have a craft for my brother? He’s home sick & I want to make him happy by bringing him something fun to do.”

    I really wish I could have given him a cupcake or a puppy instead of the paper plate craft. He deserved much more 🙂