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Libraries Are Not Universal

March 2, 2009

I’ve discovered something tonight. Libraries do not follow a standard operating procedure. Of course, I already knew this, but it became very plain tonight when I was working the reference desk. 

STDL does not break out their biographies into a separate section. I was under the impression that most libraries did, but a few weeks ago, I found out that this isn’t always the case. And the issue came up again tonight. A young man was looking for biographies on scientists for a project. He was trying to decide which scientist he would focus on, so he just wanted to browse the biographies to help him make his decision. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to just browse, because the biographies are interfiled into the sections that they fall under. He and his mother had a call number from Youth Services, and since he was younger, we suggested that he go to Youth Services to browse and get an idea of whom his project would focus on.

This method of interfiling biographies surprised me when I first found out about it, and it still surprises me. I know there are many people out there who enjoy reading biographies from all different people. How can they browse if they’re not sure what they’re looking for?

Other than the biography question, there seemed to be a lot questions on practice exam books. I also pulled some books on The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald for a patron, and helped other patrons find books on Astrology, Palmistry, and Aztecs.

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