A Conversation for The h2g2 Guild of Librarians

It's been a long week

Post 1


I'm sure you've all met this guy. He strides up and says 'I want a list of all the books you have on Management.'
'Well, we've got several thousand management texts. Perhaps you can be a bit more specific?'
'No, I want the list.'
'We don't have lists. We have computer catalogues, which you can use to search for particular items,'
"Yeah, I tried that. I got too many items to remember. That is why I want the list.'
'You can print out the pages from the catalogue.'
"Yeah, but I'd have to use up lots of my printer credits to do that.'
I take a deep breath, and explain how the library works, and how he's welcome to go and browse the shelves, and the joy of online departmental reading lists, and how the system is designed to help people who know what they want as there is far too much material for lists as each list would be several hundred pages long.
'Which is why I want you to give me a list because I don't want to use up my printer credits.'

Pause for thought.

'Can I ask why you want this list?'
'Well, so I know what you've got in the library.'
'Why can't you go upstairs and have a look?'
'Oh looking's for losers.'
Small snapping sound as Agapanthus's temper breaks off and rolls away under the desk.
'Excuse me, but there's a queue of people who really need some help behind you and I am now going to attend to them.'

And I did. And after a few minutes he wandered off, whereapon I had the unparalleled satisfaction of hearing his friends calling him a lazy w*nker.

It's been a long week

Post 2


smiley - rofl Oh poor you. Yes I've met this one. I ususally just smile sweetly and point out that are catalogue computers aren't connected to a printer. Flumoxed, the problem walks out.

It's been a long week

Post 3


I didn't take this call - thankfully. A girl called us yesterday and asked if we knew why the school had called her house? My staffperson said that this was the public library, not the school. The girl told her that she knew that, but that she just thought we would know.

Every time I think I've heard the stupidist posible question, something like this comes along.

Some people...

Post 4

David B - Singing Librarian Owl

I've just had one of the enquiry desk librarians popping in and out of my office to relay the various stages of a conversation with someone on the telephone and seeking my advice (I'm in charge of inter-library loans).

The person is a consultant at a hospital in the Eastern part of the county and wanted to know if we could send one of our books to a different university library, so that we could pick it up there. Um, no. We could if the library asked us for it, but we can't just randomly send books around the county.

Then she asked if she could come in here with her hospital library card and borrow it. Again, no. We're different institutions, and you need a card for our institution to borrow our stock. If she will need to borrow things frequently, she could apply for an external user card.

She then reveals that she has membership of yet another local educational library that has a pool of tickets it lends out to people so they can use our library temporarily. Fine, she can get one of those. But, it transpires, she wants to reserve a copy of the book, as she's already looked on our OPAC and knows they're all on loan. And she wants to pick it up tonight!

So evidently she expects us to track down one of the people who has it on loan and persuade them to return it some time in the next five hours. Do some people not think? Ever?

I think in the end, she agreed that she would probably have to wait at least a few days before the book became available. But I somehow suspect that someone will leave a message about this person tonight, as I have a horrible feeling that my colleague mentioned me by name to the caller...

Rant over for now.

And you wouldn't believe the trauma and heartache caused by the suggestion that we dress up as characters from books for a day to raise money for Children in Need...


Some people...

Post 5


I wonder why libraries seem to attract such deeply woolly minded individuals? A friend of mine thinks it's because librarians are seen as very clever, so people expect us to be able to solve just about anything from the title of that book with the flowers on the cover I borrowed in 1996 to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Most of the time I am having just about enough trouble solving which boot goes on which foot at half past six in the morning, so I can get to work on time and fully clad and answer all the following, totally genuine, I-was-there-I-was-that-soldier questions:

Can I borrow more than one book at a time? Why can my friend take out three videos and I can only take out two? Yes I have a video at home already... If a book isn't on the catalogue, does that mean you don't have it? If a book is on the catalogue, does that mean you do have it? What's a catalogue? I'm in my final year of a French degree - where are the french books kept? why do you need my library card to lend me a book? Can I use my friend's library card? Well, can I use your library card then? Where's the library? (looking at the Short Loan collection in its little cage near the loans desk) are those all the books you have? Can I read the books? Can I order a pizza on your phone? Why can't I use my mobile phone in the library? Can you go and get this book for me? Can I buy this book? Why not? Do you have a shorter version of this (holding up 'Heart of Midlothian')? And best of all, do I need to use the library if I'm doing an English degree? (I lost control and burst out laughing at this one. Poor creature scuttled away without waiting for an answer).

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