Tales from the Reference Desk

Hey gang,

I was funemployed for several weeks and rapidly began losing my mind. I could use some perspective.

The new crop of students must be coming into the library to do last-minute midterm research around now. Remind me what I’m missing by skipping out on my library career to make software?

I declare this an open thread. Gimme some funny library stories!

9 Replies to “Tales from the Reference Desk”

  1. A great turn of phrase, like funemployed, turns heads and caught my ear. Last fall I grabbed the “freely circulating librarian” tag line and refuse to give it up despite a return to gainful employment in a Seattle Public School library. In a time of quick browsing, the double-entendre stands a chance of garnering delightful interaction.

  2. Interesting… You went from being a librarian to being a software maker. I did the reverse ;-)

    Recently I was helping a student find sources of information on how albinos are viewed in different societies. At one end of the spectrum, in certain African countries (e.g. Tanzinia), albinos are considered to have magic power that can be acquired by killing them and eating their body parts. At the other end of the spectrum are the Cuna moon-children of Panama who are considered divine or close to God.

    I suggested she might be interested in the “blue people”. Years ago when I was a software engineer, I travelled to Hazard, Kentucky to install software at a coal mine. While in Hazard, I heard many strange stories including one about the “blue people” that lived there — I always thought it was an urban legend. But, I did a little research for her and found out the story was true. It turned out that the blue people had quite a bit in common with albinos.

  3. There was no funniness on the library field trip, sadly. There was only the children’s librarian (who had been at the branch for 16 years) bemoaning that the system continued to be understaffed. Apparently there’s a new trend of hiring new children’s librarians and making them branch managers as well — or vice versa, I suppose. Difficult enough for a seasoned professional to juggle one new position, but both at a time for a fresh hire is a bit unusual. :/

  4. My favorite recent “story,” from when I was on IM (it speaks for itself):

    [20:31] robsam160976: hi
    [20:31] Hansenlibrarian: hello!
    [20:31] Hansenlibrarian: how may I help you?
    [20:31] robsam160976: hey how are you today?
    [20:31] Hansenlibrarian: doing well, thank you
    [20:31] robsam160976: i cant remember if we have talked before? 24f here. u?
    [20:32] Hansenlibrarian: I’m sorry – I believe you have the wrong IM. Did you have a library question tonight?
    [20:32] robsam160976: oh… well whats up?
    [20:34] robsam160976: hello?
    [20:34] robsam160976: a/s/l? do you have a pic?
    [20:34] Hansenlibrarian: I’m sorry – this is a librarian speaking. I can help you with a reference question, but I am not here to just chat.
    [20:34] robsam160976: but librarians are hot, aren’t they?

  5. I love you guys.
    Congrats on finishing up LIBR 202 Remy! And heck yes to distance learning. One of my favorite classes ever was taught by Carrie Heeter via the awesome remote classroom software *she made herself*.

    sat – Is it just me, or is the Night Library an entirely different institution? Madness reins, and daytime rules (no feet on the chairs! no sleeping!) are revealed as the arbitrary things they really are.

  6. Oh the usual. I was in Olin studying the other night, and some bare shirted slightly crazed pudgy guy was running around screaming wondering where the gym was.

  7. Thank goodness, I finished my LIBR 202 midterm last night! I still have an annotated bibliography to churn out for LIBR 200, so I’ll be hitting the — virtual — stacks. It’s nice to be able to do all of this in my pajamas. Yay for distance learning!

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for humor when I take my sweetie’s crop of first-graders on a library field trip this Saturday.

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