Overheard at the library
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Actual reference queries reported by American and Canadian library reference desk workers
- "Do you have books here?"
- "Do you have a list of all the books written in the English language?"
- "Do you have a list of all the books I've ever read?"
- "Do you have that book by Rushdie: 'Satanic Nurses'?" (Actual title: "Satanic Verses")
- "Where is the reference desk?" This was asked of a person sitting at a desk who had hanging above her head a large sign saying "REFERENCE DESK"!
- "I was here about three weeks ago looking at a cookbook that cost $39.95. Do you know which one it is?"
- "Which outlets in the library are appropriate for my hairdryer?"
- "Can you tell me why so many famous Civil War battles were fought on National Park Sites?"
- "Do you have any books with photographs of dinosaurs?"
- "I need a color photograph of George Washington [Christopher Columbus, King Arthur, Moses, Socrates, etc.]"
- "I need a photocopy of Booker T. Washington's birth certificate."
- "I need to find out Ibid's first name for my bibliography."
- "Why don't you have any books by Ibid? He's written a lot of important stuff."
- "I'm looking for information on carpal tunnel syndrome. I think I'm having trouble with it in my neck."
- "I am looking for a list of laws that I can break that would send me back to jail for a couple of months."
Note: If any of these questions seem perfectly reasonable to you after careful consideration, please see your local Reference Librarian.
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