Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Unexpected, Expecting the

Librarians should not waste time preparing for library instruction sessions. It is a law of librarianship that a teaching faculty member will always ask something random and unrelated of you in the middle of your guest lecture to the class. With little or no warning, you'll be asked to spend 30-45 minutes demonstrating how to do mail merge in Microsoft Word?

Ask the readers: What is the most random, unrelated thing you've been asked to demonstrate on the fly in the middle of a library instruction session?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Q: Your website says that the wireless network is down indefinitely, when do you expect it to be up?

A: Uh… The IT department is working on it. [THINKING: What the #@!* do you think indefinitely means?!]

Anonymous said...

In a sociology class:
Proff: [in the middle of a discussion of the APA Format]What was it like growing up on a commune?
Librarian: [internally: where in the hell did he hear about that? and what does that have to do with APA Format?](smiling)It was nice. Moving on...

Kevin Musgrove said...

Trying to talk to my managers about self-service circulation units for the umpteenth time:
"How come whenever my Outlook auto-archives I can't see the emails that have been archived? It's a real pain: I don't want my emails auto-archiving. It asks if I want to auto-archive my mails, I say yes but its still goes on doing it."

And the one where I had to be escorted from the meeting... I thought we were having the about-bloody-time meeting about our very first project installing internet facilities for the public in all our libraries. I had questions about the project-planning, policies, etc. governing the implementation I was going to have to do on the fly because we'd missed all the deadlines and had nasty people breathing fire over our shoulders. We spent four hours discussing the placing of six chairs in one of our libraries.

alea said...

"How do you get somebody in your apartment complex to stop smoking on their balcony?" was somehow sparked by me showing how to use our OPAC.

Woeful said...

The last training session I led was attended by one man... I think he was there for the coffee.

Anonymous said...

While explaining the research process and encouraging students to use reference books to get background information on a topic, the professor asked me to explain how to use Google images to start a research project. I was shocked to hear that someone holding a PhD would even consider using that method (okay... not that shocked) that I asked *her* to explain it to the class since I had no experience with that research method.

Anonymous said...

Reminding the students that the articles in our databases can't be used because "you can't use any sources off the internet". I have since won her over to pdf articles, but not html. I think she believes we photocopy the pdfs.

val said...

oddly enough, i had never had a weird question until yesterday. i taught a class immediately after reading this post, and in it a student asked me "how do you order food from off-campus using your student ID card?" i have no idea why he thought i would know that, but i suspect he may have just been trying to be an ass... we librarians are not *quite* as clueless as we appear.

Anonymous said...

Back in 1997,after an hour long session on the what the Internet is and how to use it, when it came time for 'any questions?', a gentleman asked "so where on that screen would I type my manuscript?"

Anonymous said...

While showing a college class of about 15 students how to use the library's databases I had one student interrupt to ask for help with her genealogy research. She wanted to know if the people she found while I was teaching the class how to do business research were her family members!

Anonymous said...

Helping a lady doing research in our local history section, loudly:
"Are you a Christian?"

Derr...

Yvonne said...

Can you tell me the name of that database thingy you use to find articles?

That would be the catalog.

creaky15 said...

I was teaching a Web of Science class recently. Someone asked me how to set Office Outlook emails to show that the recipient had opened it, the date and time. We had a 5-10 minute discussion about that... I made a point of keeping my face neutral. Then we went back to learning how to see whom has cited whom.

Anonymous said...

I was teaching a class in legal research when an obviously disgruntled person asked, "Why are laws written so weirdly? Why don't they make sense?"
Me: "Because they are not written by librarians. If they were, they'd make sense and be sensible." He spent the rest of the class pondering that one.

f is for Fer; he forgot to floss said...

EPISODE #27 IN THE CONTINUING SAGA OF STUDENT APATHY: Some years back, I was leading an 800a class through the library basics, and we finished up the quickie tour to arrive in the electronic classroom. Just as I launch into my stirring rendition of LC-logical catalog searches, a young woman in the front row gets up, makes it just outside the doorway, and has what my wife would call a scene of controversy right outside the classroom. Surely this was not an editorial comment on my tour? We had only just begun.

My first thought was that there was no way I could keep the class's attention on my program after a loud multi-colored vomiting (my second thought was, I wonder where we keep the Nilosorb). How these children did not hear their classmate or simply did not care, I'll never know. The instructor saw everything and rushed out to help the poor kid, waving me on to finish the orientation. Um, OK. If you say so.

One or two students did make a comment about the awful smell as they were walking out, but that was the end of it. The day's experience left the library just as incidental to those young'uns as it was when they walked in. Another success story!

Anonymous said...

After weary years of trying to get my management team to focus on what they wanted to do with a new library management system:

"Why can't we get green screens that will go with the carpets?"

Mary Ann said...

Early in my first year of teaching, as I tried to explain about parts of speech to a group of bored 7th graders, the one question anyone could muster was, "Do you wear contact lenses?"

Anonymous said...

After my rousing presentation on using my community college's catalog and databases, one adjunct professor said, in front of the students, "Would you show them how to use the [insert local university] catalog? This library doesn't have any materials here they'll need so they'll have to use the [insert local university] library. This same professor has never responded to numerous requests for suggested titles he'd like us to buy or for comments about exactly where our collection is weak. He continues to bring his classes for instruction every semester, too, so we must have something.