Last week, a patron came to me needing help with her resume. She’s looking for a job, and she’s desperate. She didn’t want just books on how to write a resume, she wanted someone to sit down with her and help her write it. I’m not good at writing resumes, so I didn’t offer my services and hinder her job search. I recommended another local public library because I’d heard that they had a resume service and I thought they might be able to help her. I was wrong.
She came back to me and told me that the librarians at the other library were rude. They told her because she didn’t have a card from their library, she couldn’t take part in the service. And she called at different times, and talked to different people. She was told the same thing, and each time they were rude. You know? It’s understandable to a point, but don’t be rude. Explain in the nicest possible way why other patrons can’t take part. Maybe even offer to try to find her help in other places. Librarianship is about sharing. We should share information with our patrons, no matter who they are or where they live.
This patron came back to me today. She still needed help, because she was turned away by that other library. Now she’s more desperate and this time, she’s frustrated. I started digging. I made calls. I surfed the web. I found five places for her to contact. FIVE! All of these offer the service she’s looking for.
I learned a lesson today. Keep digging until you find the information you need. Share that information with others. So share what you’ve got. Don’t hold back.
Carrie Straka is Adult/Teen Librarian at Bartlett Public Library in Bartlett, Illinois.
(Note from Michael: Carrie wrote this piece in response to my call for stories in “Office Hours Extra: Save the Day!”)