Academic Ref Grunt

Ever wonder what kind of questions we get asked at a university reference desk? In the style of RefGrunt, here is a list of the things I answered today: (oh, and you have to imagine me answering the questions looking like this)

In the morning (1 hour)
ILL
Computer will not login to the system. I check it and restart it. I tell him to try again once it restarts and let me know if it does not work.
An Accounting textbook entitled Cost Management. Nope.
The guy with the computer problem comes back and tells me it did not work and he has moved to another computer. I put an “out of order” sign up and let the IT guys know about the problem.
Printer out of paper
Printer, different one, will not print. I find out is clogged by PDFs. I cancel the large PDFs and watch the printer queue to make sure it clears.
I explain how to get an account for the computers.
How to find books and articles on Hindu mythology
(phone) Yes we have census tracks for Brazoria and Harris County which have the breakdown of ethnicity.
A girl walks by and thanks me, I did not help her, for service rendered. As long as she is happy.
A student brings me a copy card that will not work. I let her borrow one from the desk.
Student returns card.
Student has forgotten their password for their computer login.
Colleague K comes to the desk and we discuss our plans to watch Angel Season 5 tomorrow and talk about NCAA Basketball.
Printer not printing. We reroute two printers and alert IT.
I leave the desk

After lunch, I return for two more hours of abuse:
Where is the campus Writing Lab
Student asks for old exams, what she really wants is exam keys that her professor has placed in reserves
Stapler
Computer login account
Document will not print. It is a PDF. I ask her which print button she used. I show her the right one.
QA books in Reserves? Right behind you.
He tells me he is looking for articles on telecommunications, what he really wants to know is how to find articles for which he already has citations.
Change for a $20. Sorry, no change.
How to find databases, Chemical Abstracts in particular.
Current journals? Right behind you?
(phone) How to connect to the library resources from home
Where to get a copy card. Right next to the copy machine.
Wants scotch tape and sees the box of earplugs on the desk and says, “Are you kidding me?” Nope.
(phone) how to get here from one of the major freeways
Library access from home
(phone)Looking for the book Water Resources and Environmental History.
Article from Journal of Personality and Psychology. Someone ripped out the one from our copy. Bastards.
Stapler.
Change for a $5, nope.
Fix a broken stapler.
Express terminals for internet access – over there
Lost diskette
Admin office
Will books from another library make the door alarm go off, nope

–Jane, that’s all folks

4 thoughts on “Academic Ref Grunt

  • March 29, 2005 at 1:30 pm
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    Listen to you complaining. It’s your job. Welcome to the world of customer service.

    Mr. R.

  • March 30, 2005 at 10:53 am
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    I am shocked to see that my serious reference interaction is treated so unprofessionally.

    ~K
    😉

  • March 30, 2005 at 12:33 pm
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    I really love working the desk, Mr. Rochester! You know that. I just have to be snarky about it asit is my nature.

  • March 30, 2005 at 3:49 pm
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    How could you have possibly only had 3 stapler questions in a two hour shift on desk?

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