Thursday, July 05, 2007

Random Tidbits of My Brain = Reference Answers

For me, working in a public library means every random scrap of knowledge that I have will be called upon at some point.

Recently one of my clerks called me to the front desk for what she considered an odd reference question. Had I heard of a coral crocheting thing? I'm probably the only one in the building that regularly knits, but they won't let me have needles and yarn on the floor (can't imagine why not....). The staff knows this though (the yarn still sneaks into the staff lunchroom sometimes) so I got the phone call. Coral reef crochet project? You bet--there was an event regarding it taking place at one of the yarn stores I frequent. While I couldn't get all of the detailed information in that moment, I could at least direct her to the store (15 miles from here--quite the trek on the train)--which she acknowledged gratefully was farther than anyone else had been able to get her to.

And then this morning I had a woman come to ask me about "finding new authors that are like ones she's read." I blanched for a moment when she mentioned a couple of authors I hadn't heard of and then remembered we have Novelist. (Whew--saved by the subscription database) As I'm pulling it up to show it to her, I ask her what type of books they are. Paranormal romances. Ahh, now here's something I can speak on with authority. Five author suggestions later, Novelist came up and I was able to show her how to search for a similar author to one we'd already discussed.

It was a happy reference moment...even if now the circulation staff is questioning my reading intelligence because I've piles of paranormal romance novels at home and might have judged a paranormal romance novel contest. If it answers the question....

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