Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning at the Reference Desk

Phone Question:
 "Good morning, this is the Berkeley Heights Public Library, how can I help you?"
"This is the Berkeley Heights Public Library..."
"I'm sorry, you have reached the library, can we help you?"
"Yes, give me the phone number to Macys."

Phone Question:
"What is the phone number of Union County Paratransit?"
 Reference Librarian gives him the number from the website.
"No, that's not right, last time you gave me..." patron recites alternate number from the website.
"Yes, that number is listed as the dispatcher. Is that what you wanted?"
"Yes, that's the one I have."
"Great, glad to help."

Phone Question:
"Can you look up the phone number for...," caller lists three different businesses in 3 locations in NJ.
"I found company phone numbers, but none are listed at the locations you gave me."
"OK, give me what you got."
Librarian gives phone numbers and locations.
"Those aren't in the towns I want."

In Person Question:
"Yesterday's librarian gave me the name and titles of the books my grandson likes, can you find them? I left the piece of paper she gave me at home though."

In Person Question:
"I  just wanted to tell you I can't come to the program I signed up for because...." [insert life story here.]
"Thank you for letting us know. I've made a note that you cannot come."

In Person Question:
"I got a notice that my ebook is ready for me to download to my iPad, can you do that for me?"
"Yes." tap, tap, tap, done.
"How did you do that?"
"I followed the instructions in the email notice that you got."

Phone Question:
"I'm calling from XYZ encyclopedia company, is this a good time to talk to you?"
Librarian thought balloon: :-O

Patron listening in to Reference Desk activity:
"Gee, I'd love to be a librarian, just reading books all day."
Librarian thought balloon: :-(

Note: Why do patrons use the library as a phone # look-up service? It costs money to call the phone company 'Information' line and many people do not have computer access at home. The Reference Librarians use Reference USA, a database of U.S. and Canadian phone books and directories which can be found on the 'Databases & Articles' page of the library website. You will need a library card barcode to use this database. How do librarians know what book a patron means when they don't remember the title or author? This is actually a very common type of question called "stump the librarian." No really, it's not called that, but it is a common question and often the answer can be found by using NovelistPlus, another nifty database available from the Databases & Articles page.

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