Friday, 13 May 2016

On the Reference Desk

I keep a log of things that happen ORD (on the reference desk).  Some of them are funny, some sweet, and some scary.  Here are a couple of my most recent:

[Phone call]

Patron:  I'm writing a report and don't have my slang dictionary handy.  How do you spell cattywampus?
Me: c-a-t-t-y-w-a-m-p-u-s
Patron:  Wow, did you know that off the top of your head?  That's awesome.
Me: I did know it but I double checked with the computer just in case.

(hang up)

30 seconds later, the phone rings again.

Patron: Is that one word or two?
Me: One.

[Same day at the Desk]

Patron 2: How do you spell "inconveniences"?  All the I's and E's mess me up.
Me: Let me write it down for you.

[ILL Demands]

Problem Patron (this person is a regular and a regular problem): I put a title in the catalog and two unrelated titles came up.
Me: Sir, that's because we don't have it and the catalog was offering suggestions with those search terms.
Problem Patron: Oh.  Can you check and see if any other library in the state has it?"
Me: Sir, there is no catalog for the entire state.
Problem Patron: Can you Inter-library Loan it for me?  New Mexico does do inter-library loan, right?
Me: Yes, sir (gritting my teeth because we're not that backwater).  It's a $5 fee.
Problem Patron: How do I find out if it's available without paying the fee?
Me: You can look at other library catalogs online.  I did just check (even though I'm not really supposed to because that's part of the process) and it's available in El Paso.  If you would like to fill out this form, you can turn it in with your $5 fee and we'll call you when it comes in."
Problem Patron: But if I pay and they can't get it, do I get my $5 back?
Me: No, sir, it's a processing fee.
Problem Patron: Never mind, I'll check Cloudcroft, I don't think they charge a fee.
Me: Very good, sir.

Relating this to my boss she mused, "Hmmm, I don't know if he drives a Prius or not but it takes at least $5 in gas to get to Cloudcroft."

[Phone call]

Hard-to-hear-and-understand-patron: I have COPD and a lady at the health food store told me to look at the internet and there would be a website to give me instructions on how to inject myself with hydrogen peroxide to help my health.
Me (trying not to sound horrified): I'm sorry, that's out of my purview.  The information on that is varied and controversial; you'll need to contact a medical professional.

[On the Reference Desk]
Patron: I'm (cough) uh (throat clearing) looking (cough cough grunt, throat clearing)... I'm going to cough.  (pulls out a Visine bottle and dribbles some into the back of her throat).  I would like the address of Bill Bryson.
Me: I can only get you his publisher's information... (please, please tell me that you re-used that bottle for something else and you didn't just squirt a known poison* into your mouth).

Stay tuned for future installments of ORD--On the Reference Desk...

*Ingesting eye drops doesn't actually give you diarrhea as is usually assumed--it is instead very dangerous and potentially deadly.  Check out Snopes for some extra information.

No comments:

Post a Comment