Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Yes, it can be confusing around here


A patron came up to the front desk of the library and asked me, "I don't have a library card so what do I need to get on a computer?"

I like this question because it is super easy! Don't get me wrong, there are some very difficult questions I like, and some medium-difficulty questions can be fun too, but an easy question is always a pleasure, like endeavoring to peel an orange and having it all come off in one go, or maybe it's like popping a bit of bubble wrap.

So I answered right away, "Just grab one of those computer passes." I said brightly, gesturing at the little square passes laid out in neat rows on the counter.

The patron picked up a library guide, written in Somali and Hmoob, and asked "This one?"

"No." I replied. "Those little square ones with the letters and numbers."

The patron picked up a free bookmark with a colored pencil drawing of a daisy from the labeled "free bookmark" tray and asked "This one?"

"No." I said. I leaned as far over as I could and gestured at the many little passes just out of my reach. "Anyone of these." I said.

The patron looked confusedly around the desk and reached over the library guides to take a piece of scratch paper. "One of these?" They asked uncertainly.

"No. Wait." I answered. And I walked around the counter and picked up one of the square computer passes and said "One of these." Then I handed them the computer pass.

"Oh. Okay. Thank you." They said and walked away.

1 comment:

  1. And if you had started by walking to the passes, picking one up, and handing it over, you'd risk being called out for showing no respect for the patron's intelligence. Sometimes you just can't win.


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