The Library has been a strange place lately, and by that I mean that there has been an unusual amount of normality. It makes me wonder what I’m in store for when the fit actually hits the shan… Today began slow and steady. At the reference desk, we answered a leisurely 14 questions the first hour, however, there was a steady increase in activity until we hit a crescendo from 4:00 to 5:00PM with 43 questions. This rounded out the final hour of my day with a bit of pandemonium. Somewhere in there, a woman approached and handed me a book with a bright pink band wrapped around it. We use these bands to indicate that the item is an interlibrary loan (ILL) and, subsequently, should not be shelved. The following transaction transpired:
Me: A return?
Her: Yes, I’d like another one.
Me (Waiting for a response… Another one?):
Me (…Looking at the book): Was this a book club book? Would you like the next book club book?
Me (Waiting for a response again… I’m beginning to think that maybe she would like me to choose something randomly for her to read… Something we don’t own.):
Her: I’d like the next one in the series.
Me (Eureka!): Okay, do you know the title of the volume that you want?
Her: Yes, it’s called…
So, I gathered her name and number, and ordered the book, and told her that we would call her when it arrived. She thanked me and I replied, “Have a good night” and sent her on her way.
This transaction could have been worse, much worse. Although she had a shaky start, she saved it in the end. I thought that I was going to end my day with that patron who is looking for the proverbial, “book with the blue cover.” The patron who has no idea of the title or the author, but will tell you about the book’s approximate size, weight and hue expecting the librarian to be able to discern the title in question like some kind of mentat from the thousands that meet the description. I totally expected her to be clueless as to the title of the next book in the series and she wasn’t.
I was grateful.