Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's Your Definition of "Help"?

Help! by Dimitri N., on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Dimitri N. 
HELP: verb: Make it easier for (someone) to do something by offering aid. ; assist; aid; support
The other day, I was was approached by a patron to help her find a book at the public library I work at. I tend to hate sitting at the reference desk so I usually get up and walk people around the library to show there how to find things. I know, that's not very mind-blowing but you would be surprised at how many people just point to a location and consider that helping. Anyway, so this college-aged student comes up to me and has a call number, so I walk her around the library. I take her to the parent collection, go down on my rickety knees and try to find the book she is looking for.
It's not there.
I walk with her over to the picture books and start going through the books to see if the book is there. Nope. No book. Mind you, it's a picture book. They are thin. We have lots of kids coming through checking books out, putting them on the shelf and there are lots of them.
So, I go to the computer to see when it last had any activity. Feb 2012. Ok, so it has to be somewhere.
I walk her over to the resorting shelves and look there. Nothing.
I say, "Well, we have looked everywhere and the only thing we can do is put a search for it."
Lady: "What do you mean? It says it's here on the computer."
Me: "Well, we walked all over the children's library and looked in all the possible locations and haven't found it."
Lady: "I need it for Wednesday."
Me: "Well, we looked everywhere and it's not here."
Me: shocked "What? I walked with you through the stacks and looked on the shelves WITH you. You are actually saying I didn't HELP you?"
I then asked "When did you get this assignment?"
Lady: Long pause. "That's not important."

Uh, actually, it IS important. This is what happens when you procrastinate.

I couldn't believe it. When did "helping" equal only actually finding the item? Seriously, I could not believe the nerve of that girl. Luckily, my manager supported me because, you know, we aren't magicians, we're librarians.

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