Monday, August 2, 2010

Dumb Blond or Clueless Librarian?

A Facebook friend posted a link to a 37 second 2007 video "America Still Appreciates A Good Dumb Blond Joke." ( On one level it is hilarious. A female patron goes to the reference desk and asks for, "Burger and fries with a milkshake to go." The person at the desk who may or may not be a librarian says that this is a library. She makes no attempt to understand the question. Frequently reference librarians get questions that are incorrectly formed. Readers do not always know what they want. The librarian needs to engage and encourage the reader to explain the query. The "librarian" in the video should have checked WorldCat. There are two books and several articles with "burger and fries" in the title. For example, Burger, fries and a friend to go by Fran Sciacca and Jill Sciacca; A Burger and Fries: The Dilemma of Childhood Obesity by MaryJane Blasi; and "Burger, fries and prescription please..."

If one expands the search to materials on preparing burgers or fast food restaurants there are more books. The "librarian" should have asked for clarification. Did the patron want information on nutrition, food preparation, the business of fast food restaurants, or entertainment?

On analysis this video is not funny. It shows a total lack of understanding and curiosity. This library's staff needs some on-the-job continuing education in dealing with patron queries.

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