This week I staffed the children’s desk with the reference librarian from the main desk. I got to do some weeding from the adult non-fiction section. This was fun since it allowed me to keep busy right at the desk while I checked circulation stats for older non-fiction books. Most of the questions again were fairly standard with a few little quirks thrown in. Probably the biggest quirk of the day came from a patron looking for books for her autistic son. She seemed to know what she expected, but not what she wanted and that made it a little difficult to find something she was happy with. She wanted more than what board books seemed to offer but did not seem to want to browse through the picture books. She seemed familiar and appreciative of the Eric Hill “Spot” books in the board book section, so I got her some of the lift-the flap “Spot” books from the picture book section and those seemed to satisfy her. Then, she asked where I had found those so I showed her and she began to browse through that section of the picture books herself.
The other sort of quirky question I got came from a woman who approached the desk, told me that she was in a hurry and asked for a specific sports biography. I looked for it in the catalog using the name of the author since that was what she gave me, but could not find it. Then she told me that she had looked it up herself in the catalog, but could not find it. It took me a little bit of thinking to figure out why I could not seem to locate it, but then I figured out that it was not a children’s book. She thought it would be located in the kid’s section and told me that it was since she was tutoring an elementary school student that was reading it. After I figured that out, it took me just a minute to locate it and tell her that we would have to request it from another library.
I also got the opportunity to show a girl how to use the OPAC for herself. I showed her where to click to limit the search to the children’s section, where to type in the keywords or the title, and what the different results meant when they were returned. Then, I walked with her and her mom over to the stacks and helped her find what she was looking for.
Maggie suggested that I change places with the intern working the adult reference section the next time I work so that I can get a feel for answering different types of questions. She also said that she would let me help her figure out what books needed to be bought to replace what we weeded.