Today, a patron asked me for help locating a book with the call number 489p. The patron insisted that she looked for it, and couldn’t find it. This isn’t particularly surprising since patrons can’t find what they’re looking for most of the time. Normally, they walk around the Library like the undead until the stumble upon whatever they seek without ever asking for help. Occasionally, it isn’t even their fault, the shelves are out of order. However, in this particular case, if not for a post that I recently read over at, The Society for Librarians* Who Say “Motherfucker” I would have been totally blindsided. Instead of heading right out to the stacks to located the item, I quickly ran a Dewey check against our catalog that returned NO books with that particular number, which incidentally is the number for the Greek language (the irony of this is not wasted on me).
Anyway, I immediately asked her what the title is and she said, The Da Vinci Code. Apparently, she saw 489p in the item’s bibliographic record and assumed that it was the call number, when in fact, 489p is the number of pages in the the book!!!
Mind = Blown (I stole this from Ian over at MOFO)
I responded that fiction is cataloged by the author’s last name, in this case BROWN. We walked over to fiction and found nearly an entire shelf of The Da Vinci Code right where it’s supposed to be… Which, by the way, is nowhere near 489p. So, thank you Ian! Reading your post prepared me to deal with this situation and made me a better librarian in the process. Who knew that, The Society for Librarians* Who Say Motherfucker could be such a great resource for professional development?