The Truth is Out There

A phone call I received earlier this week: Me: Benbrook Library, how can I help you? Patron (a bit breathlessly): I’m looking for aliens. Me (apprehensive because this is either going to be delightfully straightforward or an impossibly nebulous Mulder and Scully situation, very tentatively): …Are you looking for the *movie* Aliens? Patron: Yes. Me […]

Beyond the Call of Duty?

When a phone call begins with, “I’m sorry, this is probably going to be the strangest thing someone has asked you to do,” the natural reaction is mild-to-severe concern, with a hearty pinch of curiosity. What is this person about to request of me? Steal a car? Flush the toilet and tell her which direction […]

We Don’t Care Too Much For Money, Money Can’t Buy Our Books

The other day, a library patron called to let us know she really liked a particular book she had checked out from us (that’s good), and she wanted to know how she could go about buying the book from us (that’s…less good. And kind of strange). We make it a point to be as accommodating […]

Cataloging Library Help Seekers

The other day, I had a patron approach me and ask for help in a mildly terrifying, heretofore-unexperienced way: as I was seated at the Information Desk with my focus on my computer screen, she soundlessly materialized behind me, Mr. Deeds’ butler-style, and dramatically whispered, “I need your help.” Startled, I turned around to see […]

Getting an Image From Screen to Paper: There’s a Better Way

Last week, a library patron showed me something new in attempted technological ingenuity when she tried to make a photocopy of her phone screen. Before you make fun, consider 1) putting something you’d like a copy of into a machine that makes copies isn’t the craziest thing and 2) there are way dumber things to […]

Total Eclipse (Glasses) of the Heart

The following should be read/sung to the tune of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”   Telephone, every time it rings we get a similar question that’s all too familiar now Telephone, every single caller wants a specific something we regretfully just cannot provide Telephone, every other minute there’s a new hopeful person seeking […]

The Library: Decidedly Not the Post Office

  A phone call I received earlier this week: Me: Benbrook Library, how can I help you? Patron: Did you know that I haven’t gotten any mail in three days? Nobody on my street has gotten any either. It just stopped coming. What is going on? *Brief expectant pause* Me (sympathetic, but confused): I’m sorry […]

Name That Tune

Last Friday afternoon, a patron walked into my office and asked if I’m a rock music aficionado. Unsure if he wanted to ask a trivia question, sell me some vintage vinyl, or maybe start a Styx cover band, I tentatively answered that I’m not an aficionado, but I’m generally familiar with rock and/or roll. He […]

The Library Does Some Retro Reference

The library is no stranger to questions. They come in bunches from in-person visitors, phone callers, and e-mailers every day. Yesterday, on Throwback Thursday no less, we received a question via an old school method we rarely see used anymore: snail mail. Yes, someone sent us a bona fide letter (pictured above) to inquire about […]

Call the Library for Good Measure

People call the library for all kinds of reasons, each of which puts the skills of our staff members to the test in different ways. Many calls require searching for information. Some involve sleuthing and detective work. Others take patient technological talk throughs. These are the types of things you mentally prepare yourself to do […]

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