Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mixed feelings

How should a good reference librarian feel when the student worker calls him/her for help in the break room at lunch or on an evening/weekend when she/he is not scheduled to work but is in his/her office? I suppose an excellent one is delighted. When people actually ask for help, reference is my favorite part of being a librarian. I am very happy to help when called during the day, even if I'm not the person on call. But lately I have been working later in the evenings and coming in on weekends to try to catch up on all of my projects without the usual disruptions, and I am being called to come out for not only reference help, but to un-jam printers and figure out computer questions as well. I'm only mildly and temporarily annoyed with the requests for reference help, I am less gracious for technical problems.

Should I feel guilty that this annoys me? Does it make me less than a good reference librarian?


Anonymous said...

You shouldn't feel any guilt--it sounds like these people aren't respecting your boundaries. If you're on a lunch break, I'd suggest seeing if the student's question can wait till you're back on duty, or if not, they can ask it to the current desker. As for the weekends: I'd suggest keeping your office door closed, as if you aren't even there! The bonus with that is that you can dress as casually as you want. :-)


sprylibrarian said...

I am in complete agreement with Jeff. At lunch time, I don't even answer my phone, and I feel no guilt! To be a good reference librarian you need a break and you need to get other things sorted out at work so you aren't rushing reference help knowing you have a ton of work to do. Technical problems- please! We don't have reference help in the morning on the weekends, and I unapologetic ally tell people when the service will be provided- usually they come back anyways.