Wednesday, October 12, 2016

At the Reference Desk: quick, look this up for me!

Asked lately of the BHPL Reference Librarians: details of the questions were edited to preserve the privacy of the patrons.

Questions by phone:

Q: I need names of dermatologists in Livingston, NJ. Can you 'Google' that for me? I don't use computers.
A: We 'Googled' that question because the patron was in a hurry. We often look up physicians in the reference book 'The Official ABMS directory of board certified medical specialists' or use the American Medical Association's Doctor Finder webpage, but if patrons just want us to quickly search the internet with the understanding that the results are random and not a recommendation, we will do that for them. Using reference books and the AMA website takes longer than Googling.
Follow-up Q: That's a doctor who treats skin stuff, right?
A: Right.

Q:Is it illegal to sell a used mattress in New Jersey?
A: We quickly realized this is a complicated issue and while we were looking for the easy, quick, fast answer that the patron wanted, he changed the question to ask for a list of used furniture stores in the town where he lives. He does not use computers. If we were, we would mark the answer to this question, 'No, but it's complicated.'
Note: here is an article from about tougher proposed laws on the sale of used mattresses. We infer that used mattresses can be sold in NJ, but have to be sanitized first and carefully labelled following guidelines. Here is a PDF from the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs about used mattresses.

Q: How do I register to vote?
A: We recommended this Union County website for all kinds of election deadlines and other information.
The printable New Jersey Voter Registration Application is here

Follow-up Q: Can I register to vote at the library or a Post Office?
A: No. We have applications available (see above), but we cannot register voters.

Questions at the public internet computers:


Q:What email do I use?
A: We don't know. Is it Gmail, Yahoo, Verizon?
 Follow-up Q: What is my email user name and password?
A: We don't know.
Q: My home computer remembers. How do I find out what my password is?
A: Did  you write it down somewhere?

Q: Can I quickly print out something from my email on your computers?
A: Yes
Follow-up Q: Where is my email?
A: What kind of email do you have? (see above conversation.)

Questions at the Reference Desk in person:

Q: What ever happened to the Dewey Decimal System?
A: We still use it.
Q: Really?
A: Yes. 

 Q: I don't know the title or author, but I want to know if you have a book called something.
A: Can  you describe the book?
Q: Oh, you know, everyone is reading it.
A: Is it a bestseller?
Q: Can you get it for me?
A: It depends on what it is.
Q: I'll call my friend who recommended it.
A: OK, let us know what the title is and we'll take it from there.
Q: I'm sure you have it.
A: Probably, but it might be checked out.
Q: Yes, that's probably why it's not here.

Q: How do I connect to wifi here?
A: Your device will find 'LibraryWiFi.' There is no password to get into the network.
Q: No password?
A: No.
Q: It's not finding it.
A: Just wait. That usually works. Or reboot your device. Or look at your settings to make sure you are not on Airplane mode or something blocking it. 
Q: OK, got it.
A: Great.

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