Yesterday I returned to work feeling rejuvenated from a week long vacation and received some real on the job inspiration. A patron came to the desk wondering where books on alcoholism were located so I began explaining that there are many and asking what aspects of alcoholism she was most interested in? The reference interview then turned to alcoholism and suicide. I was glad to be able to provide a listening ear to this patron and I quickly located some books on how to know what to say, how to deal with grief and support groups for those experiencing grief. I really hope that this patron will turn to support available in the community for help. The patron had tears in her eyes and was thanking me when leaving — I was holding back tears of my own. I was saddened by the story, but happy she had sought help and more especially that she had trusted us at the local public library to listen and provide resources when she didn’t know where else to turn to. That really says something. Yesterday showed me that it can make a huge difference to a person – even when the desk is busy – if we can slow down, think things through, really listen to what is said and go through the reference interview process. For me, this is how library services can (and should) stand out against those of any of our competitors, making library service valuable.
When I returned to the info desk after my dinner break I had two high school students ask about videos for school presentations. Videos they wanted could not be found in our collection, but there were relevant videos online through library databases and through YouTube. I explained that they could download the video and save it to their computer using KISS (for YouTube videos only) or KeepVid. I explained that they would need to download an FLV player to play back the files, (available for free – links to these found on KeepVid). This is definitely something worth remembering.