OK, I’m gonna gripe here a little bit. This post isn’t directed at this class in particular, and not even necessarily at the program as a whole. Because I wonder if the different instructors in the program know what assignments their peers are giving out. But I’m having some difficulty with one aspect of the program that was kind of unexpected. Let me ask some questions:
Do you know how many times I’ve been asked to interview a librarian this semester alone? Do you know how many libraries are within a ten mile radius of my house? NOT THAT MANY. I’m within walking distance of THREE different public libraries and that still isn’t enough.
So here’s a dilemma. In light of the fact that I’ve had to request, oh, about 20,000 librarian interviews this semester, what’s the right way to go about it?
Reference librarians are there to help you find information. Anyone can come up to the desk and ask a question. It’s part of the job of being a librarian, to answer questions and provide excellent customer service. Of course, different librarians have schedules to keep and might be busy with other things at certain times. Generally, my instructors have urged students away from the reference desk, to set up formal meetings.
It seems to be a really big imposition to keep asking people to set aside time to talk with me – as opposed to just stopping by the reference desk. But can a librarian flat-out turn down such a request? Is it safe to assume that the answer is going to be yes? That doesn’t seem to be a fair assumption. So far, I haven’t come across anyone who has refused to answer my questions. But if they AREN’T specifically a reference librarian, how much should I expect these busy professionals to help me out? I keep thinking, and worry that they’re thinking, too, “Isn’t this what the reference desk is for?”
I mean, I’m taking an anatomy and physiology course, too, and I haven’t once been asked to go interview a doctor or a nurse about how the human body works. I guess the difference is that librarians are about sharing information. Isn’t there a responsibility for the patron to show some limits? I’m starting to feel like I’ve crossed a line.
Anyway…that’s all for now. I’ve got to go schedule another librarian interview.