Monday, December 2, 2013

At the Children's Desk: A Day of Questions


In the weeks before I left my job, my duties away from the reference desk began to dwindle, and I started really focusing my attention on answering questions. There were several days in September and early October where I was on the desk more often than I was not, and on those days, I took notes, keeping track of every question I was asked, and by whom. Today's post focuses on the questions I handled on a typical Thursday (September 12, 2013) when I was working alone in the children's department. I mostly let the questions speak for themselves because they're more interesting - and funnier - that way, but I have included some notes in brackets where necessary.

9:30 a.m. - LIBRARY OPENS

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

  • Parent: My wife told me to sign up for this thing at 11:00. Can I do that with you? 
  • Parent: My daughter is in third grade, and she has this geometry homework. [She showed me a worksheet where shapes needed to be sorted into Venn diagrams.] Do you have books on that? 
  • Senior Citizen Woman: Do you have Wild by Cheryl Strayed? How about anything by Robin Cook? What about Whiskey Beach? Will you notify me when my hold comes in? 
  • Pre-K Teacher, via phone: Can I set up a time to bring my pre-K class over for story time? 
  • Woman: What is today's date? 
  • Senior Citizen Woman: I didn't find Whiskey Beach. Are you sure it's here?

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

  • Parent: Can you find me some Thomas books that are level one?
  • Parent/Nanny: Where do you keep your level 4 easy readers?
  • Parent: Do you have Fall books? Do you have I Spy books?

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. LUNCH

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

  • Homeschooled Child: Do you have the first two books in the Warriors series?  Do you know what the second Redwall book is called?

1:30 p.m. -  2:30 p.m.

  • Homeschooled Child: Do you know where I could find the movie Eragon?
  • Teacher: Do you have the Carl books? [For clarification, I asked, "Eric Carle?"] No, you know, the rottweiler?

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

  • Child: The computer [AWE Early Literacy Station] isn't playing any sound!
  • Adult: I was looking for the third book in the Song of the Lioness series. Is it here?
  • Adult: I'm having trouble placing a hold on Born Standing Up. Can you do it for me?
  • Parent: If I borrow a Harry Potter DVD, and it's late, is that treated as a children's item or an adult item for my late fee?
  • Child: Can you go on the computer without a library card?
  • Middle Schooler, tattling: He's trying to get her to sell him cookies! 
  • Adult: Do you know where the medium conference room is?
  • Child: Can I borrow a headset?
  • Middler Schooler: The boy sitting next to me is pulling my chair back when I'm sitting in it.
  • Parent: Did my son pull his chair?
  • Adult: Where do I return books?
  • Adult: Where is the medium conference room?
  • Adult: Is the only printer you have the one that is out of order? Where can I fax?
  • Parent, with two kids: Do you have two pencils we can borrow?

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Child: Can I borrow a pencil?
  • Child: Do you have anymore notebooks like this one on your desk?
  • Child: Can I borrow a pencil?
  • Child: Can I have a bookmark?
  • Parent: Where are the Thomas the Tank Engine books?
  • Middle schooler: Safari is frozen and I can't log out of my computer.
  • Middler schooler, complaining about another middle schooler: He's taking pictures of me, and I want him to stop.
  • Staff Member: Do you know where the Star Wars DVDs are for kids?
  • Parent: You're not really monitoring what these kids do on the computers, are you?
  • Child: Do you have any books by John Green?
  • Middle Schooler, holding bottle of Dawn dish soap: I found this on the floor.
  • Child: Do you have the movie Happily Never After II?
  • Middle Schooler: Can I have this comic book?
  • Middle Schooler: There was dish soap on the floor over there and now it's gone!
  • Child: How do I log out of this computer?
  • Middle Schooler (who was earlier taking pictures): Are we having a tornado?
  • Parent: I don't have my library card. Can I check out if I just give them my name?
  • Child: Where are the chapter books for kids?
  • Child: Do you have comic books at this library?
  • Child: Where are the books about fairies for kids?
  • Child, sibling of previous child: Where are the fairy books?
  • Child: Did you find a clarinet?

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Child: Do you have to check out this magazine?
  • Parent: Can we just set our stuff here while we use the bathroom?

5:30 p.m. - LIBRARY CLOSES


  1. I love this. Not just because it's hilarious, but because I know it's 100% true.

    1. I was really glad when it was over that I had chosen this particular day because I think the questions were especially good /funny. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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