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Mr. Mustache, another librarian blog

I am a reference librarian with experience in both the public and state government fields. I am doing this on a whim, sort of like the mustache I grew when I was 19 and still have in my 50's.

Location: New Jersey, United States

I am a state worker and a librarian.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The school assignment

Occasionally a teacher will give an assignment that involves a visit to the library. Although the student can, theoretically, use the school library, that often is inconvenient and less fun than hanging out, gossiping, or playing skin the cat during the school day. Hence, the student waits until the evening before the assignment is due and casually mentions to the parents at dinner that a visit to go the library that evening is imperative if a decent grade score is to be maintained this semester.
Unless the student has a driver's license, the parents will have to take him there. An evening pleasantly spent watching America Idol or the Kings of Queens or going bowling is suddenly changed. The routine is broken, much like a child spraining an ankle and needing an emergency drive to the hospital for ex rays would change an evening. And like a trip to the hospital or doctor's office, the trip takes longer and costs more money than originally anticipated.

The parents arrive at the library with the child in tow and drag the poor miscreant to the Reference desk. Well, barks Papa, tell her what you need! The child, now close to tears, gives a mumbled account about needing to write about a true hero of the Korean War and how this hero showed bravery and acted upon a situation in an original way.

The Librarian grunts. Those teachers and their &*^$# homework assignments, the librarian thinks. Naturally there are no books in the circulating collection on the Korean War. These were borrowed the day the assignment was given. The librarian, fortunately familiar with the topic, goes to the Encyclopedia of the Korean War (if somebody had the foresight to order such a thing) and finds a few names that he/she remembers using last year for this assignment. The librarian trots the books over to the copying machine, which, God willing, is working tonight.
The parent is bewildered. The eyes tell the tale. Money! This is a free public library. I didn't know this was going to cost me money! I thought we were going to borrow five books and go home. Nothing is ever easy. Fortunately the Mrs., a veteran of such expeditions, remembered to bring some change and the photocopies are made.

The next time you get an assignment you better not wait until the last minute! scolds papa. The family goes home and the student stays up late to write her paper. The student gets a B.


Blogger Greatwoods Librarian said...

It's not just school assignments. It works this way in the business world, too. We (special librarians) get to deal with the executives or better yet, their administrative assistants, who wait until last minute and then don't want to have their client charged for the work.

12:02 PM  

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