The journey of a future librarian

Friday, November 26, 2010

Reference Can Happen Anywhere

I work part time at the front desk of a gym over in Dewitt. It is a fairly simple job; I wash towels, answer the phone and hand out locks. All your usual costumer service things. However, the other day it somehow turned into a reference desk for one of the members.

I guess that technically, some one at a front desk is equipped to handle ready reference questions for the business. I know the hours, the prices, and other little facts about the business. However, this situation went beyond ready reference; pretty much turning into a full on reference interview.

A member, of the gym, came to me at the front desk and asked me to look up a medical condition  he called diastolic zero; as well as looking for the term hyper dynamics. Trying to be the learned reference librarian that we are training to be in 605 I decided to go straight to, instead of using a Google search. Well let me just say that typing the terms that the member gave to me did not result in any search results at that site. So I started to ask clarifying questions to the patron to try to see if I understood what he was truly trying to get an answer for. I was bit concfused as to what I was actually trying to find for the member; what the codition was, how it happened, how to treat it? I didn't know.

However, the member just seemed to repeat the terms that he wanted me to find. He didn't say "I want to know what causes the some one to have a diastolic of zero." He really wasn't giving me much of a direction to look for the answer or information was that he wanted. Maybe I wasn't asking the right questions, but there was a communication problem going on.

At this point I started to get a bit frustrated with the situation. The member was hoovering and insistent on having the information quickly. Also, they wanted to go about looking for the information themselves, making me feel that I was incompetent of the search. Eventually, due to the inability to search on for the information I gave into a Google search. I figured the member wasn't really going for the creditability of the information, they just wanted it quickly. So, in combination with wanting to stop the members inquiring and a Google search I ended up giving the member a halfhearted answer.

I know that this member does not know I am going to school to be a library, so they were not aware of my pride that was on the line. However, I realized that this situation is the type of thing that I am going to face all the time working in a public library. Obviously this situation did not go as I would have liked, but it really helped me to think about how I should act in future reference situations. It is going to be important to keep a level head no matter who you are working with or what they are asking. It doesn't help to get frustrated with the member, you get flustered in your search and can jeopardize the end result.

In conclusion, I learned that the life of a reference library is going to be a trying career. However, the fact that you are helping others learn and be informed is the reason that we need to do this work.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Man's Trash...

I loved tonight how Dave talked about the fact that we can not determine the intrinsic value of something for another person. This is something that I whole heartily agree with. I realize that when I become a librarian I am going to be ask reader advisory questions about the types of books I don't normally read. And if by some chance I have read a series of books about a girl that desires to be a vampire to be with the man she loves, that doesn't mean I liked it and want to suggest it to others. But this is the point: I can't decide for that person whether they are going to like it or not.

The basis for this idea is one of the things that often makes me laugh in this program. We are all so different. There are those of us that want to be school librarians, special collections librarians, or public librarians; and that's okay. Goodness knows if we all wanted to go into the same thing getting a job would really be difficult. So, it is good that we are different. And with these differences we value different things.

The world would be a boring place it we all had identical values. Creativity would mean little, those who are the slightest bit different would be shunned. We would all live in ignorance. For we have learned the most from those men and women in history that went against the grain and followed what they truly believed.

As the title begins: One man's trash, is another man's treasure. May we all always keep our minds open to this possibility.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Being a Master's Student

In the past week or so, it has really set in for me what it is going to take to be a Master's student. I know, I'm half way through the semester and now it is setting in? The answer, for me, is yes. I'm not trying to say that I can't handle it, it is just that I need to adjust and step out of my comfort zone at times. 

I feel that as a Master's student you really learn how much you can put on your plate. You learn the point to which you can stretch yourself with out breaking. Yes, there may be some cracking and need for glue. However, you also learn that you are not alone. I have gained so much strength from those that I have gotten to know in the program. We learn that we are not the only ones with a question about this or that, we are able to provide insight to one another, and we are there for each other because we are all going through it together.

I know that I made the right decision to pursue my Master's. Every time that I think about the fact that I am becoming a librarian, it excites me. I know that it is not going to be easy, and no one ever said it would. But I think I have learned that easy really isn't worth it, the best things in life come from the struggles you face.