A daily diary of actual interactions between a reference desk librarian and his patrons
Reference Librarianship documents a year in the life of a young librarian working in the “trenches” at a library in the Midwestern United States. This one-of-a-kind book provides a daily diary of every librarian/patron transaction—no matter how mundane or absurd—to demonstrate not only how advances in technology have affected the reference librarian’s job, but how the public’s expectations have changed, as well. The book also includes observations by a now-retired reference librarian on the current state of the field based on these unedited interactions.
Over the past two decades, the job of reference librarian has seen many changes. But in many ways, reference desk work hasn’t changed a bit, with its mix of odd, humorous, routine, and ridiculous requests that capture what it’s like to deal with patrons day after day. Reference Librarianship paints a clear picture of the field for library school students, provides emotional and philosophical support to practitioners, and reminds library administrators of what life was like on the “front lines.”
A sampling of the daily transactions documented in Reference Librarianship:
Monday, May 19, 2003:
Preface. Chapter 1. Directional Questions. "Just Point Me to the…" A Grunt’s Diary: May-June 2003 Chapter 2. The Library Has Everything. “Alice’s Restaurant” or “Do You Have…" A Grunt’s Diary: July 2003 Chapter 3. Something Is Not Working Here
“The Computer/Printer/Copier Is Broken." A Grunt’s Diary: August 2003 Chapter 4. The Computer Is Not Listening to Me! Computer Literacy versus Printed Literacy. A Grunt’s Diary: September 2003 Chapter 5. The Library Does Not Have What I Want Reprise and Coda. A Grunt’s Diary: October 2003 Chapter 6. Why Are These People in the Library? The Library: People’s University or Social Service Center. A Grunt’s Diary: November 2003 Chapter 7. Reference Questions “I Need Help!” A Grunt’s Diary: December 2003 Chapter 8. Policy Questions “Why Does (Doesn’t) the Library…” A Grunt’s Diary: January 2004 Chapter 9. The Library As a Retail Outlet How One Library Transformed Itself into an Xpress Shop. A Grunt’s Diary: February 2004 Chapter 10. Staffing Tomorrow’s Library Hire for the Smile, Train for the Job. A Grunt’s Diary: March 2004 Chapter 11. Building Tomorrow’s Library “Why Did I Tell You I Was Going to Shanghai?” A Grunt’s Diary: April 2004 Chapter 12. How Did We Get Here from There? Where Did We Go Wrong/Right? A Grunt’s Diary: May 2004
Conclusion. References. Index