Friday, March 8, 2013

What Does a Reference Librarian Do?

In addition to being the Teen Services Librarian, I am also the Reference Librarian. You might be wondering just exactly what does a Reference Librarian do. Basically, I answer questions. They come from patrons, either in person, by phone, or through email.

It's always been satisfying helping high school and college students find materials needed to write their research and term papers, using books or through our huge database, MAGNOLIA.

I also answer simple questions, such as finding phone numbers and addresses, facts about states, how to spell or define an obscure word, etc. However, I do receive more challenging questions or requests for research from all over the country - especially from genealogists.

Since moving here from Ohio almost ten years ago, I have decided every person in the United States must have some kind of connection to Natchez. My cup runneth over with requests for obituaries, birth records, any mention of "my great-great grandfather who once owned a store downtown back in 1898." As I rattle my brain looking for informaion or go nearly blind reading old microfilm, I keep telling myself that this is job security.

Just when I want to throw my hands in the air from frustration, I get a gem of a question from one of my local patrons that puts a smile on my face. It reminds me that my job is different every day, and I'm always learning something new, whether I want to or not.

Here are a few questions that came across my desk or were asked of other librarians across the country.
  • Do you have the book,  How to Kill a Mockingbird?
  • Can you help me find a book I checked out several weeks ago? I can't remember the title but the book was blue with gold letters!
  • Can you send me a list of all the local criminal lawyers in town? (Letter sent from inmate at local jail.)
  • I need a photograph of Jesus. No, not a painting or picture, but a photograph!
  • Don't you have any Shakspeare in real English?
  • I'm trying to find the words to a song, if I hum the tune can you figure it out?
Never a dull moment. I love my job!

No comments:

Post a Comment