Refer Madness: Librarian as Point Guard

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. On Tuesday I hosted a discussion at the library on the films of 2018. It was an informal time to swap favorites (or least favorites) from the year, and discuss the Oscar nominations that had just been announced. Opinions abounded, of … Continue reading Refer Madness: Librarian as Point Guard

Refer Madness: Always on call

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. You know how doctors are always on call? Someone has a heart attack on an airplane or chokes at a restaurant, and doctors, nurses, or other care providers jump to the rescue, even if they are off the clock. Even medical … Continue reading Refer Madness: Always on call

Refer Madness: Hate the change, love the library

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. A while back, my department’s email received this message: "What happened to the CLASSIC CATALOG? I am old, I hate change, but love my library. Thanks." I had to laugh. Funny but dead serious, succinct and self-aware, this missive captures a very real conundrum: … Continue reading Refer Madness: Hate the change, love the library

How to pay your library back

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library information desk. A regular came to the desk with the George Carlin Commemorative Collection DVD she was returning. "Before I return this," she said, "I'd like to know how much it was for the library to buy because you bought it based on my … Continue reading How to pay your library back

Refer Madness: The Book Dropper strikes again

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. A few months ago, a coworker and I noticed that every Tuesday, two items appear on the library's book sale shelves that shouldn't be there. The library has a system for what gets placed in the book sale, so we know which items are … Continue reading Refer Madness: The Book Dropper strikes again

Refer Madness: Could be home, doing nothing

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy stories from the library reference desk. In my library, one of the information desks sits in a high-traffic area where all the activity from the entrance, auditorium, elevator, and stairs to Youth Services converge. One result of this configuration is that whoever is at the desk (and anyone in the … Continue reading Refer Madness: Could be home, doing nothing

Refer Madness: A String of Beeps

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy questions I encounter at the library reference desk. I was on the phone with a patron when I heard it: that incessant beep the copier makes when something goes wrong. Once I finished with the patron on the phone, I went over to see what was the matter. This time it was … Continue reading Refer Madness: A String of Beeps

Refer Madness: The Worst Thing

Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy questions I encounter at the library reference desk. Some days on the desk are rough. Challenging patrons, technical difficulties, a case of the Mondays—whatever the issues are, like sneezes and football sacks they often come in bunches to create a day that's better forgotten. This was not one of those days. First, there … Continue reading Refer Madness: The Worst Thing