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.


kate said...

I think I was the only person on my former street in your town that wasn't on the registry!

Saving ppts. hmmm... sometimes if you open the program again, it has a copy that it auto-saved. if not, you're kind of up a creek, unless it's in the recent documents. was he not saving as he went along? he can save it to the desktop and transfer it to a disk when he's done. not that that's helpful now. i hate those days on the desk. i had a kid with a broken project who i could not help the other day. makes me sad, too.

wait, you don't have floppys for sale? when did that stop? i used to send people to target, since they have $10 thumb drives. or save things to my thumb drive until they could come back with their own.

Sharon said...

I second what Kate said. Make sure the apps on your public computers are configured to do an autosave every five or ten minutes. Some library pcs are set up to prevent the patron from saving anything at all to the computer--I think that's unnecessarily user-hostile.