Questions for Reference Librarians

These are actual questions that were asked of Reference Librarians in America and Canada (and you think your job is rough):

  • “Do you have books here?”
  • “Do you have a list of all the books written in the English language?”
  • “Do you have a list of all the books I’ve ever read?”
  • “Where is the reference desk?” This was asked of a person sitting at a desk who had, hanging above her head, a sign saying “REFERENCE DESK”!
  • “I was here about three weeks ago looking at a cookbook that cost $39.95. Do you know which one it is?”
  • “Which outlets in the library are appropriate for my hairdryer?”
  • “Can you tell me why so many famous Civil War battles were fought on National Park sites?”
  • “Do you have any books with photographs of dinosaurs?”
  • “I need a color photograph of George Washington [Christopher Columbus, King Arthur, Moses, Socrates, etc.]”
  • “I need a photocopy of Booker T. Washington’s birth certificate.”
  • “I need to find out Ibid’s first name for my bibliography.”
  • “Why don’t you have any books by Ibid? He’s written a lot of important stuff.”
  • “I’m looking for information on carpal tunnel syndrome. I think I’m having trouble with it in my neck.”
  • “Is the basement upstairs?” (Asked at First Floor Reference Desk)
  • “I am looking for a list of laws that I can break that would send me back to jail for a couple of months.”

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