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It’s Okay to Ask the Librarian – Really! November 13, 2008

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, Librarians, Public libraries, readers, Reading.

I have discovered to my distress that many people think it’s inappropriate to ask a librarian for help.  Apparently, someone drummed it into their heads that they’re supposed to be able to find things on their own in the library.  Or perhaps they had an unfortunate experience with the mythical mean librarian who asked sternly, “Have you looked in the card catalog?” 

Do not be intimidated!  We are here to connect you with the book or DVD or CD or information that you want.  They pay us to do it, and fortunately most of us really like to do it. 

Also – here is something to consider.  The contemporary public library is probably a lot different from your school library.  So even if you were a library whiz back in the day, and no matter how intelligent and informed you are, there are a lot of new developments.  We work here every day, and we have advanced degrees in library science.  Did I mention that we are here to help you? 

I cannot tell you how many times people have told me that a particular item was not to be found in the library, when in fact it was there all along.  I’m really worried about the ones who don’t ask and miss out entirely. 

If you can find what you need in the library on your own, that is fine.  But I have to tell you that I often ask for assistance when I go to another library.  A good librarian can help you find things you didn’t even realize were available.  For example, when I was doing research in the Law Library at FSU, I told the reference librarian about my topic.  He came up with the actual transcript of a pivotal trial, which I hadn’t even thought to ask for. 

It doesn’t matter whether you want a great mystery novel, need help researching a medical condition, or want to look up a stock price.  Always ask!  It is true that there may be some questions that are too far out of our expertise or beyond our resources, but we will at least try to set you on the right path. 

Happy Reading!

The Book Goddess


1. Danielle- Seattle Book Examiner - November 26, 2008

Great point! It always helps to ask, especially if you don’t see it on the shelf immediately. Sometimes it takes another pair of eyes to find it, or perhaps the librarian will be able to tell if the item was just returned and be able to search for it on a cart of books waiting to be shelved.

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