Some days I’m blessed with reference desk shifts in which I can comfortably work on my spreadsheet of database statistics, or update my LibGuides, or do some collection development work, all while answering a few chat reference questions, troubleshooting the printer, and answering interesting questions from polite and cheerful students.
Some days, not so much.
Today I’ve had the double-whammy combo of a student with an overwhelming sense of entitlement about how our interaction was expected to proceed, and a group of students in our quiet conversation study area who, apparently, feel that the library is an awesome place to hang out, with an environment that should be akin to their favorite bar.
On one hand, I’m happy at both of these interactions. The student with entitlement issues obviously thought I would bend myself into a pretzel to meet her needs. I want us to be known as a library that helps students above and beyond the call of duty… but even I can’t fly without wings. And the loud students who needed to be shushed twice before they got the message were really comfortable in our group study area, obviously at home with their textbooks and computers out and their lattes and slushies and cookies in hand… but they had no regard for the people around them.
So today’s one of those ‘good enough’ days. I helped the first student meet her information needs, even though the way we went about it made me grit my teeth and bear it. And I hope that the students upstairs right now understand that while they are welcome here, they are also part of the library’s community, and as such bear some responsibility for the communal environment.
And a nice young guy just came up and asked if he can use JSTOR from home, and when I explained the proxy server, he said, “Nice. Perfect. Thanks so much!” and left smiling.