Monday, September 14, 2009

What I Misheard on the Phone

Four times yesterday and twice today a patron called, spelled a word and asked the reference librarian how to pronounce it. This is a perfectly legitimate use of the library Reference service. The problem is that "b" sounds like "v" which sounds like "t" which, well you get the idea. So I replied to the caller by saying things like "v as in vegetable or b as in baby?" but the phonetic alphabet didn't appeal to him. He thought that if he spelled louder I would get it. I didn't. To make matters worse, the words were in German. We went around in circles with these questions, both of us getting frustrated. In between calls, which I may have answered accurately or not, I looked up the NATO alphabet, also known as the Alpha Bravo Charlie alphabet or radio operators' alphabet. Maybe keeping Alpha Bravo Charlie near the phone would be a good idea.


Ellen said...

We might consider using nautical flags as well.

Anne said...

good idea and practical too!