Seleca's Harp (selecasharp) wrote,
Seleca's Harp
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Circulation vs. Reference: A Rant

Okay, I work in a college library on Sundays. Just Sundays, mind. That is what I was hired for; that is what they trained me for. I work in circulation. Now, on Sundays there is a reference librarian on duty for only three hours of six, so I've had to do reference on the fly. However, this does not mean that I am a reference librarian.

Got that? I don't care that I'm taking classes in reference. I don't care that I sometimes have to do it. I was not hired as a reference librarian and thus, I do not know everything a reference librarian who works at this particular library would know. I also don't know some things because of the fact that it's Sunday. And now, the case study of today, beginning with the latter truth, re Sunday:

A man comes up asking if he can copy tapes for his Spanish class. We don't do it. I know this. I know the media services upstairs does it, and that they are not open Sunday. I do not know where they are located precisely. Why? Because I NEVER have to send anyone there. Why? BECAUSE THEY'RE CLOSED ON SUNDAYS. What am I? The SUNDAY person.

And why does he need to know this right NOW, anyway? So he can go stare forlornly at their locked door and curse Jesus?

Upon his return from whatever the hell he did after getting annoyed with me for not knowing the precise location of the fucking closed media services, he asks me, "Where are the maps?"

Now, we enter into the first problem, that of reference. Reference librarians control the collection and the locations. Circulation checks books out and handles reserves. We do not know PRECISELY where EVERYTHING is because we do not shelve, nor do we leave the desk unattended. We CAN'T. Especially when there's no one else there, as is ALWAYS the case on Sundays. The maps are in two cabinet things behind the reference desk for a reason.

But, I am studying to be a reference librarian, so I start to point out where they are, but slowly. I remember starting to point and saying, "Well, they're..." and trailing off because a barrage of questions hit me. What does he want? Road maps? Geography maps? Topography maps, for fuck's sake? What? I gear up to ask this, and he starts bitching about how he can't BELIEVE I don't know where the MAPS are. I forget asking more detail and tell him that I am a Sunday person, and we don't get told much, and then add in that I DO know where the maps are, thank you very much, and point at the cabinets. All in a civil tone, mind.

He goes, looks at one of the cabinets, comes back and snaps, "They're road maps!" and stalks off. I think, You only looked at one of the two cases, dipshit. And you didn't specify that you DIDN'T want road maps, nor did you allow me to ask before getting your panties in a wad. And you know what? It doesn't matter anyway! Why?

BECAUSE I'M NOT A FUCKING REFERENCE LIBRARIAN.

Thank you, and good night.
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