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

Reference Question of the Week – 10/7/07

   October 13th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Everyday Math for Dummies book coverA patron and her son come to the desk, and she asks if we had math text books. During the reference interview, I learned that the patron didn't actually want a math text book.

What she wanted was a way to help her sixth grade son, who was struggling with math in school. We do have text books for the junior high classes, but we also have more general math books, and the Learning Express Library database, which has skills lessons and practice test.

While showing her the available resources, the patron stopped me and said:

"Don't you have something like Math for Dummies? That's kind of the level he's at."

Keep in mind that her son was standing right next to me. I felt so bad for him. Perhaps we should have been looking for a How Not To Destroy Your Child's Self-Esteem for Dummies book.

On a related note: a few weeks ago, someone came in asking if we had Homeschooling for Dummies. We do, and the Idiot's Guide, too, but I wonder: should "dummies" and "idiots" be teaching our future generations? I know "you can learn a lot from a dummy," but still.

dummies, dummies books, dummy, idiot's guides, idiots, libraries, library, public libraries, public library, reference question

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