Monday, September 09, 2013

Miss Information is annoyed by bad directions

Miss Information works in a complicated library. Before she came here and she worked at branches that only had one floor, she used to discourage people from coming here. If they insisted, she gave them quite specific instructions about how to find what they needed but given the way people come into the branch, she now realizes that those instructions were a complete waste of breath and that she should have spent her energy trying to become psychic instead. 

Miss Information has a line of customers and is in the middle of something. A young and impatient woman tosses a question at her as she passes. 

"Where do I pick up my hold?" she asks.
"Over there," Miss Information replies, pointing in the general direction of the pick up shelf. The reality is that picking up a hold is far more complicated than that, but the woman didn't seem to want to wait her turn, so let her figure that out. 

She does figure it out pretty quickly and comes back. Fortunately, Miss Information is now free to spend some time working it out. There are many reasons why a hold might be in the building--somewhere--but not on the pick up shelf. It just takes a bit of effort to figure out which reason it is and where the book might be.

"Let's see," Miss Information begins. "Did you get a call from our automated system or an email? Or did you maybe call us today and talk to someone here?"

The woman, who has the air of someone parked illegally, is impatient. "I was at Colossus Library downtown. They called here. They said it was going to be at the desk! It's probably behind you on that shelf! Look on that shelf!" 

It's true, Miss Information has a pick up shelf right behind her. The books on this shelf are usually the ones that have been left by people who have forgotten their library cards. Still, Miss Information looks. Nope. The only books here are picture books.

Miss Information explains that the book might still be on the originating floor and if the woman might give her a tiny hint about what the book is, she will direct her to the correct part of the library.  What sort of book is it?

"Computers," the woman snarls. 
"Oh, ok, most of the computer related books are on the 3rd floor but some are not. Was it a particular software or program?"

The woman seems really incensed now. 

"Jeez!" she says. "Autocad! It's autocad for Christ sakes!"

Miss Information knows that autocad books are, in fact, on the 2nd floor but she is annoyed with the woman's attitude and decides to look it up in the library catalogue just for fun. As she is typing, the woman speaks again.

"Oh, for God's sake! They told me it would be at the desk on the second floor! Isn't this the second floor?"

Um. No. The floor with the entrance is rarely, in Miss Information's experience, the second floor. She directs the woman to the stairs and she returns to her other customers. 

See, there's a lesson here. If you are told to pick up your book on the second floor, the only question you should have when you enter the building is: how do I get to the second floor? This would have saved the woman so much time and would have ended up being way less annoying for Miss Information, too.


At 10:27 PM, Blogger SmartLib said...

Your blog always makes me thankful that I chose to become a technical services librarian. I don't have your patience - I wouldn't survive one week out there at the desk!

At 12:47 AM, Blogger Teresa said...

I love the way patrons think we can read their minds about the books they've come to pick up! Even if I know the patron (small town, good chance), unless I processed the Hold myself, I have no idea...


Post a Comment

<< Home