Thursday, January 31, 2013

Middle Ages: When You're Over Forty

I have a funny library story to share with you. It made me feel a little like an idiot, but the funniest stories usually do.

This past week a young teen came up to the desk at the library and asked me, "Do you have books on middle age?"

I looked at her for a moment and asked, "Well, what do you want to know? Health, etc.? Is it for class?"

She said it was. She was so quiet I had very little to go on, so I began to look up books on middle-age. I even went out to the shelves with her following and picked out two books - one about pregnancy over 35 and the other about mid-life crisis. She said nothing. Meanwhile, I was going on about how we don't get much call for books like this and these were the only two I could find in our library.

After I'd given her the books, she took them and dutifully went to a table at the window and sat there. I went back to the desk, but something was nagging at me. I felt like I hadn't properly helped her. I even asked a colleague if we had books about middle-aged people. She said I had to be more specific.

So, I went back and asked the girl exactly what she wanted to know about Middle Age.

She said, "Well, you know, knights..."

Then it dawned on me. The Middle Ages! Not middle age! (The 'S' is very important.)

After I heard that, I led her to the juvenile section where we had tons of books about castles, knights, chivalry, etc. Then she was smiling and carried her stack back over to her table to work.

So, kids, please be kind to your librarian. Be specific about what you're looking for. The more we know, the better we can help you. We won't chew you out, I promise.

And librarians, ask tons of questions. Even if you feel like an idiot, at least you won't have to look like one later.

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