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

“Book Rental Service?”

   January 31st, 2008 Brian Herzog

Book Rental Service post imageA friend of mine forwarded me this - someone posted to a message board asking if anyone knew of a book rental service.

Read the original post, and then read the comments left by others. Rather humorous.

The idea of someone not knowing what a library does echoes a recent discussion on MELIBS-L - one Maine librarian shared this story:

I just had a nanny who has recently started bringing a little boy to story time come into the children's library and see me sitting at the children's reference desk. She said, "Oh, you work here, too?" I looked at her, puzzled, and she said, "You don't just come in for the children's programs?" I explained to her that I am the children's librarian and that I work full-time. She said, "Oh, what a cute little job!"

This led to a discussion about how the public sees libraries, and how we need to do a good (better?) job of marketing ourselves.

But as Jessamyn points out, if we don't ourselves understand what we do and what libraries are for, then why should we expect the public to know this - or support their local library?

libraries, library, public, what are you for

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