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Page history last edited by datababe 13 years, 11 months ago

7 a.m. Log into Questionpoint.

By night/evening/weekend/early a.m. I am a chat librarian who responds to online chat queries from patrons across the US, the UK, and one university in Mexico from public, academic, and school libraries.  A guy from the UK wants to know how to track down paintings similar to art depicted on the walls in his favorite videogame.  I find the artist connected to the game and links to galleries carrying his work.  Hope this helps support the arts in some small way. Another patron logs into his library just as the system appears to be doing a system refresh.  I reassure him that it is not him it is the site, but have to say that right now nobody can renew his books.  He can either check again online or call when the library reopens. 


9: a.m.  After dressing for day job (night job has VERY casual dress code), rousting out and feeding offspring, and dropping off at their dad's, I arrive at my day job as business librarian at a public library.  I check to see that everybody is here, get a reimbursement for last week's training on Patents and Trademarks, and check email.  I also check facebook, because I have colleagues from all time zones on there, plus read some library blogs and breaking news posts--who knows what patrons will ask me about today?


9:30-10:45  a.m. I meet with a patron who has never used a computer much and has just purchased one to aid in the family coin business.  I set her up with an email and eBay accounts, teach the basics of browsing and email and which addresses go in where, and reassure her that she is picking up more than she fears she is.  After an hour and a quarter she is much more confident. Librarian FTW


10:45 a.m. -2:15 p.m. Back to my desk to try to figure out what needs to be done next--books need to be ordered.  A collection needs to be shifted to where it will get more traffic.  I print a couple job search tip pages that might be helpful to my patrons and stock the job search table. I send a query to a colleague regarding a tech seminar that she is having at her library--would we want one here?  Call and speak to a library school student who shadowed me for a reference assignment about possibilities for an internship/practicum  at the library. Go through my snail mail box, which, since I do the reference collection orders as well as business, is full of fliers for books that we might need here at the library.  Get the items that go in our serial collections in employment law, business, and grantsmanship to have them filed for public access.  Find a cucumber spread recipe native to my home town requested by a Friend of the Library whose garden is exploding.  Oops! a print investment research source that our patrons have come to depend on is now only available online--and at a higher price (while tax money is going down). This occasions a long call to the vendor about pricing where I remind the vendor that we are in MI, which is an exceptionally financially stressed state.  He suggests we pool with a neighboring library, so I call them to discuss whether they are open to cooperative database purchases. This could be an interesting moneysaving strategy or it could be too little too late--after all, the budget was due last month...


2:15-2:45 take a lunch break to run some errands


3:00-5:00 Reference Desk--explain interlibrary loan to a patron who is totally stoked by how easy it is to get books from other libraries.  Respond to inquiries about a substitute paraprofessional slot that has been advertised in the local paper.  Assist a mom trying to find some of the books that her child has been assigned for summer assignments, cautioning her that overdue books can be more common in the summer when people go on vacation with the book.  Check out laptops to people who prefer sitting in other parts of the library away from the public computer system.  Advise several patrons how to get internet user cards. Find multiple editions of a favorite author for a patron.


10:00-11:15 night gig on Questionpoint again.  A colleague has been held up and asks me to cover a one-hour shift for her.  Tonight we have a problem.  We have somebody from outside the US repeatedly logging in through one of the state queues (intended for service to residents of that state, not from international patrons who are not asking questions remotely dealing with that state in subject).  The patron, who seems to have some cognitive impairments, keeps logging in over and over, because she is applying for a job and is unable to understand the job description of a sales associate in a store.  She cannot understand what any of the questions on the application mean.  It appears that English is her first language--she simply has a comprehension level somewhere in the lowest grades of elementary school, although she is an adult.  She wants us to dictate her responses to all questions on the application and explain each phrase of the job description, without the ability to explain any experience or knowledge on her part.  When we ask her to clarify anything she disconnects and logs in again, sometimes cursing at the librarian before doing so.  My colleague has fielded 12 logins from her and asks one of us to take her when she shows up in the queue again. I do so and get the excruciating lack of comprehension.  This woman has been logging in like this for months. She does not seem to remember anything from session to session, refuses to contact the employment assistance resources from her area that we have sent her, and often gets hostile.  I work with her, explain that the service is not for job application or dictation and is intended for people from a particular state, and forward her the job assistance information.  I forward the transcripts to the host library with explanations of our experiences with the patron. Other questions are easier--library card and password issues, problems downloading an ebook to a Nook, history of the Sikh involvement in the construction of the Pacific railroad, and a middle schooler who needs to figure out how to calculate percentage discounts.  Sometimes I am dealing with 3 patrons at once.


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