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i fear for our future

I just had a student come to the reference desk for help finding a call number. Not that unusual, but his explanation for why he couldn't find it was disturbing.

He said, "I'm looking for KF560 but it only went up to KF390!"

Okay, yeah, one of the rows of shelves, the first one, only goes up to KF390, but did you notice there are several more rows of shelves right next to that one? With higher call numbers? [not that I said that, of course...I trotted out with him, agreeing that "this is really a big library and it can be confusing."]


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 26th, 2014 02:10 am (UTC)
I'm assuming this was at a college/university of some sort? Sometimes I wish there was some sort of reporting mechanism for students who *really* don't need to be in college without some major critical thinking remediation.
Feb. 26th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC)
If I had a nickel for every time I've helped students who couldn't figure out where the next row of shelves was...

Spatial dislocation is not at all unusual in libraries. I've been a librarian for 23 years, and worked and volunteered in libraries before that, and I still get turned around sometimes. Usually I have a bit more ability to pathfind than that, but I long ago gave up judging IQ by ability to find the next shelf. Terry Pratchett may be right about LibrarySpace.
Mar. 6th, 2014 05:21 am (UTC)
I had this happen to me once and I was totally embarrassed when I asked for help and was shown that I only needed to turn around. The librarian was thankfully very kind about it.
Feb. 26th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC)
I remember a student who declared that the entire E section was missing. We went up and showed her that the E section was still there, between the D and F sections. She thought it came after F. This woman was well over the age of forty.
Feb. 26th, 2014 04:16 am (UTC)
Argh yes, this! Ever want to ask, "What did you think all those other books were?"

Feb. 26th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
that did indeed cross my mind, though I appreciate the reminder from other commenters that people can get disoriented.
Feb. 26th, 2014 07:12 am (UTC)
I tend to be fairly patient when I get this kind of complaint, because our shelves are, like, the definition of confusing. (Sections that skip around between shelving areas include fiction, nonfiction, mystery, children's fiction, picture, and children's biography. Sections that have recently been moved include science fiction, oversized, superhero, foreign language, videos, nonfiction dvds, foreign language dvds, and blu-ray. To be fair, some of it has to do with the way the shelves are set up and the fact that they are immovable, but some of it is definitely people trying to squeeze things in without moving shit when really, just reorganizing the entire upstairs would make things so much easier.)
Feb. 26th, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
It boggles the mind.
Feb. 26th, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC)
Yep, it's happened here and I did my darnedest to make sure the student didn't feel like a total nimrod in the hopes that they would come back and discover all the things the library can help them with their classwork.

I may not have been able to completely hide the surprise on my face, though.
Feb. 27th, 2014 01:26 pm (UTC)
This. Also, "your other left."
Feb. 28th, 2014 03:10 am (UTC)
I'm constantly helping patrons who don't think to go to the second set of shelves in our public library. They just turn around and look behind them. And I'm like, are all dumb?? Obviously, I just think that and don't say it, but STILL. The best is when they come up to the desk and I take them back and they're like, oh my god, these shelves have been here the whole time?!?!?!
Mar. 2nd, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC)
I had someone looking for a book in the 800s (public library using DDC) and when I pointed her in the right direction she said, "Well, that's a silly place to put them." Yeah, right smack between the 700s and 900s - how utterly silly of us!
Mar. 2nd, 2014 03:35 pm (UTC)
A future lawyer, judging from the call #.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

Authority Record

the fuck
The Society for Librarians* Who Say "Motherfucker"
For all of those times when the gatekeepers of the world's knowledge are called upon, in their professional capacity, to use the word "motherfucker." Or at least to seriously consider it.

*Open to librarians; library associates, specialists, technicians, and paraprofessionals of all kinds; library school students; library aides and volunteers; and all of those who love libraries, or even just love a particular librarian. Welcome.

Date Due

May 2017
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