Recommending books

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Fri Jun 21 16:37:45 EDT 2002

On Wed, 19 Jun 2002 19:08:39 -0600, rohina at wrote:

>Now, I know what you are thinking, what you wouldn't give for a
>librarian who knew about YA fantasy. I bumped into one the other day,
>accidentally, by asking when they were going to get a book in the
>catalogue that they had in a display. Anyway, the librarian started on
>this rave, didn't I just love "Tammy" Pierce (I swear, she said this),
>and wasn't Duane a great writer... The rave went on for about 10
>minutes, meanwhile my 2 year old was wreaking havoc in the picture
>books, and I just could not get away. It was a nightmare. She even knew
>Garth Nix, but a comment about DWJ drew a complete blank, even though
>they have a lot of those new DWJ reprints. The moral of the story is, be
>careful what you wish for.

Too true.  I got cornered by a librarian recently, someone I didn't expect
to be like this because she was a little frosty with me over the book I was
looking for.  It was listed in the computer system as being on the shelving
cart in the back room, and I asked if she'd get it for me, but she persisted
in "did you check the regular shelf yet?" which, DUH, why would I be asking
you if it was where it was supposed to be?  Anyway, she came back with
it--_Bridget Jones' Diary_ for Jacob to read, in point of fact--and was all
gushing over how I was going to just love it, it was so funny, but the
sequel wasn't as good because it was just more of the same.  It was nice
that she was enthusiastic, but bad timing, as I really had to get home to
the kids.  (I was checking out the sequel that day and I liked it a lot.  It
*isn't* more of the same; the main character shows some real growth, and it
was just enough like _Persuasion_ that parallels kept popping out like happy
little surprises.)

But what I'd really like, rather than a good children's librarian, is for
the librarians to at least have relevant information that they can hand out
to people, even if they themselves aren't experts.  Remember, I said that
they'd done this whole push for SF and fantasy after the Harry Potter and
LotR movies came out last year.  I saw all the little lists they printed
out; where did they go?  Why isn't there a pile of them behind the reference
desk?  That has *got* to be a frequently asked question these days, since
Harry Potter is drawing in people who don't normally read fantasy and don't
know what to look for.

<sigh> The librarians seem fairly competent, but in some ways there's a
disconnect between what they know and what the public asks for.  For
example, just by dint of frequent use, I am more of an expert on their
computer system than most of them are.  I've seen the librarians' interfaces
and it's different from the ones the patrons use.  And I'm pretty sure they
don't know what online features are available either.  They can still do all
the traditional librarian things, but the few things they aren't quite
up-to-date on are the ones that they could really use some familiarity with.

Anyway.  I like our librarians and they are very patient with my constant
haunting of the library.  I just want it to be perfect.

Melissa Proffitt
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