As a page, my "may I help you" responsibilities are limited. Technically, I'm only supposed to help with general inquiries ("where are the DVDs?"), or a specific, "I'm looking for this item, here's the call number," the reasoning being that the patron has done their own research and you're literally just finding a specific thing on the shelf. Anything that involves research or a computer walkthrough is supposed to be handled by the information desk. Naturally, this being the first day after a closure makes the lone PSA very, very busy, so I step in when I can.
So I'm putting away books, when I hear from clear across the library, "How am I supposed to frigging find anything?" "I don't know how to find the frigging books!" "How the heck am I supposed to find stuff?"
To my dismay, I find this language is coming out of the mouth of an 8-year-old boy and some of his younger friends. Not only do I find the language highly inappropriate for his age (says the woman who'd put a sailor to shame, *ahem*), it's also fairly loud, as I could hear it from about 50 feet away. I walk over, and in a tone that strongly indicated they were being too loud, asked, "Can I help you boys find anything?"
It was highly satisfying to see them all jump a little, but even more satisfying when they all actually asked me for help. I helped one boy, the primary loudmouth, look for Moby Dick. I was a bit surprised by his choice, and asked if he knew what it was about. He said yes, so I mentally shrugged and hoped he was genuinely interested. I showed him how to search for the book in the catalogue and how to find the call number, and then the section, then walked him over to the adult paperbacks. In the end, I think he was just looking for a book with the word "dick" in it, but whatever. He knows how to find books now. I also pointedly told him, "If you need help finding something else, please ask me or the librarian, okay?"
I helped the other two boys with their searches, and in the end, they all quieted down, but I wish I'd had the wherewithal to gently tell the kid that in the future, I didn't want to hear the words 'frigging' and 'heck' in the library. My son is only 19 months, and my language at home is far from perfect, but I feel weird scolding a kid who's not mine. Thoughts?
Bonus story to restore your faith: We're in the final stages of a branch overhaul that's gone on for far too long. No reno, just massive weeding and shifting and rearranging that's taken the better part of two years. End result will be a new teen section. In preparation for final furniture removal and moving, we moved the contents of a bar-style shelving unit (shelves on one side, bar stools on the other) to what will be the face of the Teen Zone. This included all the magazines, video games, books on CD, and new stuff (most of which never moved). I'm proud as punch to admit that the layout of the Teen materials was my idea, one that the head librarian was very happy to implement. I love my boss.
So I'm in the stacks the other day, putting away some Teen graphic novels, when I hear two girls on the other side of the shelf, where
Totally made my week. :D