Friday, September 19, 2008

Library Quirks

I had this conversation the other day:

Patron: "Where is your section on babies?"

Me: "Is there anything specific that you want on babies?"

Patron: "No, just like the general section about babies."

Me: "Well, there are books about babies spread all through nonfiction. Like how to care for your baby, how to teach your baby sign language, nutrition for your baby, clothes for your baby, etc."

(I thought I had her at how to care for your baby. But she said:)

Patron: "You don't just have a section on babies?"

My thought: Baby what? Just baby? No, there is no baby section.

But I said: "Let me see if we have something general."

I found a book called "Your baby & child," (child care) which she thought sounded good. I also encouraged her to come back if she wanted any help narrowing it down. She didn't come back and walked out with 8 or so infant care books.

A lot of people assume that we have sections on things. Where is your vampire section? Where is your cowboy section? Where are your wizard books? I can understand, you really don't know where things are when you first walk into a library. But sometimes the assumptions can get a little silly. The "section" concept can actually work in nonfiction if your topic is narrow enough.

On the other hand, things can get too specific. Once someone asked me for the "business" section. I asked him if he wanted anything specific and he said that he wanted a list of small companies in Utah that provide web services. That was a hum-dinger. I guess I should be careful what I wish for.

1 comment:

Barney Family said...

I think if I ever decide to go to work again--I'm going to apply at the library.