My answers to impossible questions

“What do I do with the student at the reference desk who has Amazon photocopies from Professor X?” Send her to me, because I’ve never met Professor X, or even spoken to her, so I don’t know why I’m being sent photocopies, so, uh, let’s handle this one in person.

“How should I go about encouraging Department Y to help us with this problem?” Well, what’s the background on the issue, and why do you think they need encouragement and can’t be asked directly?

“Can you please let us know, urgently, if you want to renew this resource that we forgot to ask you if you wanted to renew even though we promised we were fixing our processes so this wouldn’t happen this year like it did last year and the year before?” Yes, I want to renew. Yes, I am running out of sympathy for your plight. Yes, your process is full of holes and I’m getting tired of responding to crises manufactured by your broken-ness.

“You really didn’t learn about print reference works in-depth in library school?” No, I really didn’t, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t glare balefully at me as though I were personally responsible for the downfall of reference librarianship as you know it. Go glare balefully at the internet instead. DARPA and CERN can take it.

“How many people attended the social gathering at last year’s conference?” I have no idea, because I’ve never gotten a conference report, so the treasury files just say “conference expenses”. I’m as baffled as you are. If we order too much ice cream and too much alcohol, I’ll just pig out on sundaes and beer, singlehandedly solving the problem. No worries. Alternately, ask someone else for the numbers, and I’ll limit myself to one beer and one sundae.

“Why didn’t she just use screenshots in the webcast instead of switching to live search? If she’d used screenshots, the rest of it wouldn’t have crashed.” I have no idea. Probably because the conferencing vendor swore the product would, of course and without question, work perfectly no matter what she did.

“Department X wants to post a job opening, and told us that the libraries have the journal they want to publish it in. Please call me back with the information.” Who the what and how? What information? Which journal? How the heck do job ads and I have anything to do with each other? Is this a question about memberships? You don’t know? Okay, who did you talk to first, because I think I need to call him?

“Hey, honey, I’m leaving campus for the day. Do you need me to do anything at home?” Given the day I’ve had so far, I have absolutely no idea. Surprise me.

Ah, well. It’s just another day in the life.

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Listening to: Johnny Cash – Hurt

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