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

Reference Question of the Week – 6/10/12

   June 16th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Hot Glue Gun bent object artI was sitting at the reference desk one day this week, when my coworker answered the phone. After speaking to the patron for a little while, she turned to me and said:

Brian, this patron wants to know if it's okay for her daughter and another student to meet at the library to work on a project - and they need to use a hot glue gun.

The first two things that popped into my head were "mess" and "burned kids," but really I didn't see any reason to say no. I suggested they at least reserve a study room, to contain any potential mess and also prevent anyone else from accidentally bumping into it.

My coworker relayed my permission to the patron, talked for a little while longer, and hung up. Then she turned to me, smiling, and told me the punch line:

The patron's daughter is working on this project with a boy in her class. It's the boy's glue gun, but the patron didn't want her daughter and the boy alone at his house, so she said they had to come to the library.

Ha - a totally legitimate concern, I know, but yet another reminder why ebooks will not destroy libraries.

Anyway, the good news is that the kids showed up later that day, stayed for a few hours working on their project, and left. I checked the room after they were done, and it was in perfect shape (although it smelled a little funny). But yay for another library success.

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