Wednesday, December 01, 2004

split personality

So do most people experience the I'mGreat/IStink phenomenon? Like one day you are great at your job, brilliant and kick-ass with a sparkling personality, and the next day you fumble, stutter, and look like you didn't wash your hair?

Yesterday was more of the IStink variety, even though my hair actually looked fabulous. (I am very lucky in hair-- it's a really nice blonde color and very shiny since I don't blow-dry too often) But that wasn't enough to keep me on top of my game.

I found myself getting annoyed with a student after I showed him how to use a database when what he actually wanted was books. That's a definitely no-no in the Professional Librarian Behavior book. I obviously didn't do a proper reference interview. Did you know that such a thing exists? I kid you not. It's all about using questioning and listening skills to arrive at the customer's true information need. No, really, stick with me. For example:

Me: (smiling and using body language to indicate that I am approachable and ready to assist) "How can I help you?"

Patron: "I need some stuff on being a chef."

Me: "Okay! Do you mean that you want some books that will explain what education and training is required for a career as a chef?"

Patron: "Yeah. Well, what I really need to know is what chefs do."

Me: "So I'm hearing that you'd like some things that will help you understand what it's like to work as a chef-- kind of what chefs do on a daily basis."

Patron: "Well... uh..."

Me: (continuing to radiate helpfulness)

Patron: "Well... where does all the trash go when it leaves your house?"

Me: "Do you mean, where does your trash service take it?"

Patron: "Like, is it a place where I could go and look around?"

Me: "Well, we can look for that information, but I'm a little confused. Is the trash question related to the chef question?"

Patron: "Well... I lost something in the trash. I accidentally threw something out."

Me: "Okay..."

Patron: "It was a recipe."

Me: "Okay..."

Patron: "It was a recipe for red and green lasgana that my great-great grandmother wrote on the back of my mom and dad's wedding invitation."

Me: "Uh-huh... and now you want to..."

Patron: "Well, first I thought I could find out how to be a chef and invent the recipe again. But then I thought maybe it would be easier to look for the wedding invitation at the dump."

Me: "I'm really sorry you lost the invitation, but I'm not sure that's the best option. Maybe we can try to find another recipe for the lasagna?"

Patron: "Do you have any books on how to make wedding inviations?"

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