Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Doubt, Giving the benefit of the

Always assume that patrons are using your library computers for legitimate, academic reasons. It is not uncommon for students to research...
  • autobiographical communication perspectives in Facebook user profiles
  • the effects of high bandwidth speed on illegal file sharing
  • a "how they do it" demonstration on student plagiarism
  • feminism and gender identity in pornographic depictions of big beautiful women
  • a participative ethnographic study of librarians' hostility towards cell phones, loud iPod ear buds, and unapproved beverage containers

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

My favourite “legitimate” research moment was a patron that was looking for information on chemicals. The patron wanted to know about chemical reactions, so I suggested that chemistry might be more appropriate. This became an inquiry about bombs and bomb making. What the #311?!

I was assured that it was all academic. The patron was assisting their child with a school project. I calmly told the patron, “I am pretty sure that it is illegal for us to carry books on bomb making.” The patron sighed and explained that they could not check anything out because of fines incurred when their partner disposed of all the library’s books while the patron was in a sanitarium. Hmm… how do I extricate myself from the conversation? Call the Circulation Manager to deal with the fines issue. Thank you and so long, psycho.

The best part was, me being childless and unaware, that the public school had finished two weeks earlier. Maybe it was the Al-Qaeda Summer Camp for Kids.

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with all this, it's dealing with the other patrons who are complaining about what they see on someone else's computer screen that twists my cork. Do they want to stop the progress of Western civilization dead in its tracks?

Christine Dubya said...

This past Sunday was a really normal day in our little academic library. Students were working in small groups at all the tables and computer workstations, and they were talking, heaven forbid. Really, it was just the normal sound of the library. Nothing obnoxious that needed shushing.

Next thing I knew, a tweed-dressed male student was in my face complaining bitterly that the library was too loud and I should do something about it. I told him, "We don't discourage group study, and all of these students are in the common group study areas. There is a quiet lab with closed doors right behind us."

His response: "It's too cold in there," and stormed off.

This entire library has shitty climate control. I've learned to deal with it. Either suck it up and hear your classmates "study," or suck it up and go in the cold room. Your choice, annoying male student.

Now that I read that, I think I'm way off topic, but I feel better having written it :)

Anonymous said...

Checkout The Society for Librarians* Who Say “Motherfucker” if you really want to go off topic. Vent away and know that you are not alone.

Anonymous said...

A teenaged customers once came up and asked for books on "herbs". A wink and nudge seemed to indicate that he was only interested in the onces with hallucinogenic properties.

Anonymous said...

We quiet often participate in "if everyone user just checked their email" day, rather than doing actual research...

Michelle said...

This reminds me of when I was in training with other library associates (we are non-degree-holding library help desk workers) and we were talking about patrons using computers.

She was in the army and had to do research on terrorist organizations at the school library (she went to a mormon college, on top of it!) and people often saw what she was working on and gave her dirty looks.

After telling the class her story, she slammed her fist down on the desk, in mimmic of what she wished she could say to the students glaring at her, and said, "I'm SERVING MY COUNTRY here PEOPLE!"

She also worked as an interrogator in Iraq. How's that for a change into library services?

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