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infrequently asked questions

Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2018 18:04:10 +0000


Back In The USSRlibrariannihilation

Fri, 06 Sep 2013 14:51:18 +0000

Colleague S checked in with me to see if I had any suggestions for a question a patron had posed her… and then we discovered a bit of confusion. The query, as I heard it, was for the combined populations of Russia and the United States. I Googled it for starters and got an answer […]

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Where Art Thou?librariannihilation

Fri, 12 Apr 2013 21:16:37 +0000

The library is trying to get some information on art we have in the library.  We have some things we own and others that are on extended loan and only intermittent certainty about which is which.  I got a hold of one gentleman who had a letter about one of the art items in our […]

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Impractical Peacockinglibrariannihilation

Thu, 10 Jan 2013 19:52:21 +0000

This is less a how-the-reference-question-was-addressed post and more an anthropological secondhand anecdote, spiced with self defense tips. I told the tale to A and she coined the phrase “impractical peacocking” to describe the posturing, then made me promise that that would be the title of my next post. So here we are. :p ——————————————————————————————————– H, […]

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Professional Helplibrariannihilation

Tue, 30 Oct 2012 21:00:03 +0000

I don’t think our Tech Clerks get anything like the acclaim they’re due. Helping people who aren’t comfortable with computers – or simply don’t want to make the effort to become comfortable with or understand computers – is a constant uphill battle. There’s a lot of pressure to just do the work for the patron, […]

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Mon, 08 Oct 2012 22:02:28 +0000

When we were small and came up to ask our parents what a word meant or how it was spelled, they’d tell us to look it up.  My older sister would complain because if she didn’t know how it was spelled, she couldn’t look it up. I recently had a friend share her young daughter’s […]

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What Hut?librariannihilation

Wed, 29 Aug 2012 20:27:02 +0000

Back when I first started at this library, I had a patron ask about quonset huts. Apparently, there had been a subdivision’s worth of them constructed for returning WWII veterans, as temporary housing. The patron was particularly looking for pictures of the area and buildings. At the time, I dug through all the pictures I […]

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Through A Glass Dorklylibrariannihilation

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 00:03:57 +0000

Mo. and I were remembering crappy movies from our youth. Turns out there was one we remembered different parts of, though Mo. realized it was the same one. Mo.: There was a library and this giant caterpillar, pulling books off the shelves. It was like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, but benign. Me: I […]

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Things I Learned From Librarians (1)librariannihilation

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:50:34 +0000

I learn a lot of interesting things from talking to my colleagues.  Our end-of-evening conversations, as we watch the patrons reluctantly shuffle out, tend to veer strange with plentiful use of Internet for illustrations and citations. ————————————————————————————————————– Last month, A informed me of the glorious goopiness of the hagfish. After watching a couple videos, I […]

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Spell That?librariannihilation

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 18:02:02 +0000

A patron called in looking for a book.  This happens sometimes. {} indicate the evolution of the name as I heard it. Patron: “It’s by, um, {Grazinsky}, you know – the new one.” That narrows it down, thank you. Me: “Can you tell me the title?” Patron: “Oh, no; I can’t do that. It’s by […]

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Ask, Listen, Repeatlibrariannihilation

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 23:30:50 +0000

The reference interview process can be simple or can involve a lot of interrogation, creative rephrasing, fighting down your own assumptions, massive intuitive leaps, and harrowing navigation of the myriad ways we can misunderstand each other. Minor example: A patron walks up and asks for a book titled “lock and key”. Doesn’t know the author, […]

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