Re: Time to lighten up! Rick Anderson 07 Dec 2004 19:57 UTC

I want to say this gently, as I genuinely mean no offense to Max.  But
the scenario he describes below sounds more to me like a failure of the
library than a failure of the patron.  Granted, the patron didn't seem
to have a clear idea of what she was after.  But isn't exactly that why
patrons come to the desk?  I think the thing to do in that situation is
to put some effort into helping the patron figure out what she needs,
and then to help her find it.  My suspicion is that the reason she
didn't return for a fifth time is not that she found what she needed --
rather, she was probably simply too mortified to approach the
periodicals desk again, or had simply come to the conclusion that no one
in the library really wanted to help her.

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
(775) 784-6500 x273

> -----Original Message-----
> From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
> [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Max Shenk
> Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 11:17 AM
> Subject: [SERIALST] Time to lighten up!
> O.K., serialisters... I had something happen today which I wanted to
> share, and I thought it'd be a good chance for everyone to lighten up
> and post their Amazing But True Patron stories.
> Mine is:
> I work at a community college library periodicals desk. This
> morning, a
> student came to the desk and asked if she could see "The Harvard
> Journal."
> "We don't have a title called The Harvard Journal," I said. "Do you
> need the Harvard Business Review? Harvard Educational Review? Harvard
> Health Letter?" I sent her back over to the reference desk to get more
> information, assuming that she'd come back with a citation from the
> indices.
> Five minutes later she comes back again: "I need Current
> Controversies."
> "We don't have anything called Current Controversies...
> there's a title
> called Issues And Controversies, but it's shelved in the reference
> section."
> She goes back to the reference desk...
> Five minutes later, she comes back a third time...
> "I need Harvard Education Review."
> "What issue?"
> "Uhhh... fall... 2000-something."
> She went over to the reference desk a FOURTH time and this time didn't
> return. I assume she found what she was looking for online.
> Will she be able to grasp the concept of "Do you want fries
> with that?"
> is my question.
> Your turn.
> Max Shenk
> Periodicals Assistant
> Brendlinger Library
> Montgomery County Community College
> Blue Bell, PA  19422