I don’t usually talk about my job in detail, because I would hate for anyone to feel like they can’t be totally open with their local librarians. We’re kind of like bartenders or lawyers or something. And by that, I just mean that we don’t tell people what other people are asking about. So if you need to ask a librarian for information about an awkward problem, your secret is safe. I promise.
That said, there are some pretty funny questions floating around the library. Some of them aren’t personal at all, and those occasionally get shared in a very “all names have been changed to protect the innocent” kind of way. Once upon a time, in a land far far away, I was asked to identify a bug infestation over the phone and prescribe the best way to get rid of that infestation. I like to think I did pretty well under the circumstances, but I never heard back about the problem. There’s a chance that the infesting critters took over the house and never let that library patron call me back. Or the patron called a professional to deal with the problem like I suggested.
Other fun questions? Well, there was a more recent question about the national language of a rather diverse continent. And, “Who sings that song about New York??” I will say that we almost always find a great answer after some clarifying questions. The key is to ask the clarifying questions all professional-like.
Oh, there was that one time that someone called to ask for the definition of a word. I don’t actually remember what word it was, but I remember that the caller was hard of hearing, and the definition included something vaguely sexual. So there I was in my place of work, almost screaming something embarrassing over the phone at the reference desk. Yup.
I like that aspect of my job a lot. No, not the screaming embarrassing things over the phone in public part. I like the randomness of it and never knowing what the next question will be. Life in the library is never dull.