Maintaining Professionalism

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.

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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.

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