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


I’m Moving to Ohio!

   September 16th, 2020 Brian Herzog

I don't know if anyone still has this blog in their feeds, but this news seemed post-worthy: I was recently hired to be the Assistant Director of the Tuscarawas County Public Library in Ohio!

Of course, it's mixed news. I've been at the Chelmsford Library in Massachusetts for 15 years, and it's a great place to be. When I became Assistant Director here about four years ago, I pretty much stopped blogging because most of what I did involved confidential staff or patron interactions, or far less interesting (to read about) vendor and contractor interactions. Still busy, just not with funny reference questions.

The new position will be similar to what I've been doing, but for a county system instead of a medium-sized town library. I'm really looking forward to it. The other bonus is that I'll be just a couple hours from my family, instead of eleven hours.

My last day in Chelmsford is October 2nd, and first day in Tuscarawas is November 2nd. In between, I need to pack up, move to Ohio, find a new place to live, etc. Should be fun.

If anyone is interested in working at Chelmsford, the job is posted on the MBLC job board. It really is a great job.



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Reference Question of the Week – 6/17/07

   June 23rd, 2007 Brian Herzog

I don't like using reference questions where I don't actually help the patron, but this one was kind of funny.

Here at my library in Massachusetts, the phone rings...

Me: Reference Desk, can I help you?
Patron: Hello, this is Margery. I live in Westminster, Maryland, and I'm hoping you can help me with something.
Me: Okay, I can try.
Patron: I used to be pretty friendly with some people that live in Chelmsford, but I've lost their telephone number. Their name is D_____.
Me: Sure, let me check the phone book…
   [looks in phone books]
No, I'm sorry, I don't see them listed. Sometimes people have unlisted numbers or cell phones, which means they won't be in the phone book, so I'll check a couple other resources, too...
   [looks in List of Town Residents and Property Tax Assessments by Owner]
No, this family isn't showing up as living in or owning property in town. Is it possible they could have moved recently?
Patron: Well, I suppose that's possible. It's been about twenty-five years since I last spoke with them.
   [pause]
Did they by chance give you their forwarding address?

Unfortunately, very few people who move think to leave their forwarding address with the library. The post office does keep this information, but does not provide it to the public.

The patron decided that she was going to have another look around for the number, and then maybe call some mutual friends that might be more in touch with them.

address, addresses, forwarding address, libraries, library, moving, public libraries, public library, reference question



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