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

Reference Question of the Week – 6/24/12

   June 30th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Child reading in a carSince school ended and the weather has been nice, the reference desk has been pretty slow. Most of the requests we've had have been to help kids find school summer reading books - but this one was a little different.

A woman came up to the desk carrying a couple YA books. She was obviously in a hurry, and I think because she was trying to rush, it took me a bit to actually figure out what she was asking* - it turned out, she had found on the shelf books three and four in the Rangers Apprentice series, and wanted to know if we had books one and two checked in.

I searched the catalog, but unfortunately books one and two were checked out. When I offered to place a hold on them for her, she said,

No, my son wants to read these on our vacation but we're leaving right now and the kids are in the car in the parking lot and I have to go.

And she turned and literally ran away from the desk and up the stairs to the circulation desk.

Ha. When I go on a road trip, my last stop before hitting the road is usually the gas station - awesome that that someone's point of departure is filling up on books.


*Initially, she asked me if we had any "earlier editions of this book." However, she didn't offer to show me what book she was talking about, and then when I tried to clarify if she actually was looking for an earlier edition of that book, or if she wanted the earlier books in the series, she seemed to take offense. I wasn't trying to be a jerk, just make sure of what she was really after - but I think she viewed me as just dead weight slowing her down at that point.

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