Tuesday, May 22, 2007


T stands for Tuesday and Technology! The third floor public computers being upgraded, so the second floor is a bit of a mad house. Also: no school today?

A patron wanted a legal sounding synonym for the "truth of the matter". Patron also requested my opinion on a sentence and whether or not something sounded legal.
Do you have wireless at any of the branches? (Yes! We do!)
Where can I buy a used computer monitor?
I lost my floppy disk. Did anyone turn one in?
Can I use that computer?
Why are all these teenagers here? Is it school vacation week? When will the computers be available on the third floor?
Where is your catalog?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Reference

I am really feeling energized today! I traveled to Ithaca, New York over the weekend to see a friend who has returned from The Gambia, where she was a Peace Corps volunteer. It was really wonderful to catch up and talk about our lives.
We talked a bit about technology and computers. It is really amazing to think about all the changes that have occurred in the last three years: YouTube, Wikipedia, iPod and iTunes, social networking, blogging. All of this Web 2.0 business really took off while she was away. She said, I just found out about Wikipedia a few months ago! My interests and position have me engaged in technology daily, experimenting with, learning about, teaching to others. It was a really great moment, like the internet was invented! (Don't worry. Soon enough she'll be up and running with Flickr and a blog...)

Now, the reference questions:
What is the name of the radio station for 96.3 FM out of New York. Is there a website or telephone number.
WQXR, New York Times radio station. (Who knew the Times had a station!) http://www.wqxr.com/
Can I use a pen?
Why can't I delete sent messages in my eBay account?
Since I taught this eBay class (which was very popular!), I am getting lots of questions about eBay! I love it! So the answer: turns out, I don't know why. It looks like 60 days of sent messages are kept. I imagine if there is any dispute over items, this keeps the "paper trail".
A few technology issues: converting a .wps to .doc, some of the workstations were wonky, and a teenage patron listening to gangsta rap so loud I could make out every word.
Where can I find nonfiction? (Moved into a discussion of how our library is organized rather than relying on chaos... Though a valid point was made about organizing biographies in a separate section. )
Where can I find information on Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Chad, Mali and biographies on Lefty O'Doul and other assorted Yankees (boo.. GO SOX!)
How many floors are here?
3 au pairs for the internet. Two card number look ups.
Where is the most recent issue of Barron's?
Do you have the White Pages?
Do you have change for a $20?
Looking for a French-English Dictionary.
Request for a book called A Steel Man in India. (two colleges have it)
A biography on Christian Lacroix (swoon! no book biographies, but something from Wilson's and article in Women's Wear Daily. Also my most favorite reference question of the day!)
Where can I find these books? and shows call numbers.
The machine ate my dollar! Look, it is all crinkly and torn! What should I do?

Rather loudly: "... and lack of sex!!!" And then something about Roman Catholics.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm going to count that as a reference question.

One of our teenage computer regulars walks up to the desk, and asks for some scotch tape. He is about to tape a paper towel over his tattoo. I say, I think we have some gauze and hand some over to him. I inquire about when he got the tattoo, and suggest using moisturizing the tattoo and keeping it clean.

I need to look up resources on STDs for a school paper.
Can you help me set up a hotmail and myspace account?

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Slow day. People must be outside enjoying this gorgeous day!

Do you have a map of Stamford?
Is BioKinetix listed in Reference USA? (No. Also not listed in Business and Company Resource Center.)
Can you recommend some dating sites for me? I am looking for ones that are legal and do not have minors.
Where does the library have parking?
Does WFUV have any information on their ratings and how they select what music to play?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday Reference

Only two hours on desk today:

Do you have the GMAT book by NOVA? (Patron also asked me if I was in school. No, I have a masters.)
What is the phone number for Geico? For auto insurance.
I am looking for all used record stores in CT.
I am looking for a person who used to live somewhere on Asylum Street in Hartford, CT but they moved. Can we look up the cell phone number? Can you look through tax forms and see where they are now living? (Um, no.) Can you look to see if they have a driver's license and what address is listed? (Um, no. I am not sure what the law says, but I think there is something called privacy.)
Do you have any DVDs on the US citizenship test?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Night Reference = Heartbreak

A very nice boy, maybe about 10, made a gorgeous PowerPoint about the industrial revolution. He was trying to save it onto a disk, and it froze up the program. I think his PowerPoint was too big for the disk. There were some error messages, and I waited patiently for awhile, but they didn't disappear when I pressed Okay. And the sad story is, his PowerPoint got lost and it was due tomorrow. I offered to write a note to his teacher, explaining what had happened. I felt like I had failed him because I didn't know how to rescue it. (Maybe Kate has some ideas?) I also realized that I am doing a huge disservice to my patrons, because I tell them to stop using floppy disks and switch to flash drives, but we don't have them available for sale in the library! I am going to chat up Director of Public Services tomorrow about it. I already have the W.B.Mason catalog in front of me!

An older gentleman asked about job sites on the internet, and I wrote a few of them out for him. I showed him how a few of them worked, and spent about ten minutes with him walking through some searches. I asked him if he felt comfortable enough to do the searches on his own, and he said sure. About an hour later, he says he did not have any luck and could I recommend some more sites to him. (I recommended America's Job Bank, CTJobs, HotJobs, Monster, CareerBuilder.) I suggested it might be the use of keywords, and offered to help him out again. He had to leave, and I felt heartbreak again. Because I demonstrated walking through a few job sites, but not how to search properly and use of keywords. Unfortunately, this did not even cross my mind until after the interaction. I thought I had covered that, but perhaps he was doing something else when I wasn't looking. I got him part way there, but not to the finish line.

Do I have to pay to print?
Where can I find todays paper?
I don't think we've met. My name is Joe!

A rather frantic woman rushed up to the reference desk and stated she had just come from the police department, and they told her about a sex offender registry and she wanted to print out all the offenders that lived near her. Cautiously, I wrote out the address for the CT SOR and Family WatchDog (because of the mapping feature.) She seemed very animated and fired up, and I slowly went through the sites with her showing her how to search. She kept making comments about "I can't believe there are so many!" (there are 57) and "Isn't this disgusting?". I stepped around the comments to demonstrate the features. She quickly entered her address and printed out the names and addresses of offenders. I remained very neutral with her, just focusing on her need for information, though I couldn't help but think I was handing her a loaded gun. I encouraged her to read information about that registry and its purpose.

Do you have the time?
What time is it?
A list of the brownfields sites in Indiana.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tuesday Technology Edition

Instead of Reference Questions, I thought it might be an interesting change to blog the technology specific questions I get, from patrons and colleagues.

The mouse on B31 isn't working. I think we might need a new one.
The computer was frozen, rendering the mouse unusable. I restarted and everything was fine.

A message is appearing on the staff computer on the second floor stating there is an IP address conflict. Called Director of MIS and left a voicemail. Restarted computer, but I know the issue will be back. (And restarted again)

AltR to close all the Norton AntiVirus subscription updates on the database and word computers.

Patron said he spelled a word correctly, but word was telling him that it was spelled wrong. Patron did not have a space between two words.
"This is saying there are no jobs under my number." "Did you put your library card number in after you pressed print?" (Answer: no)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Friday Reference

Articles on transmission, differential (engines not math), the Packard, DeSoto, Mustang, and Camaro. (And by articles I mean Wikipedia.)
I'd like to use a computer, I have a Trumbull card.
My handwriting as a font! Cool! Is there any free programs for that? (Cheapest is 9 bucks. My opinion, totally worth it. Most are around $50.)
Do you have ancestry.com? Can you help me print these images?
I am looking for books on yoga and fertility.
Directions to the nearest unemployment office.
Application for first time home buyers seminar through the Housing Development Fund. (2 times)
I am selling something on ebay and don't have that high of a rating or any super seller stars. How can I list references so that people can trust me? (Recommend the usage of ebay's escrow service.)
Do you have any encyclopedias? I am looking for some information on black panthers. (I do a cursory search to see if we have a black panther encyclopedia. Nothing. So, I show her where teh encyclopedias are, and say I am going to look for an African American subject encyclopedia. She looks at me and says, "No. I mean the animal!" Totally missed the obvious question in the ref interview: the political party or the animal!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Reference Questions: The Full Moon Edition

Can you help me print?
What were the numbers for the Daily News $2 Million Mega Money Match for April 28?
Can you help me find the number for The Grand in New York on 58th Ave?
Can you help me find tourist attractions in Berlin and Dublin? (The coolest project! His class made passports and have to travel the world and write postcards about the places they have visited.)
How far down Newfield Avenue is the Italian Club?
The ladies bathroom is clogged.
Can you think I should use the word disparate instead of disparagingly? Is this sentence grammatically correct?