Today one of our patrons approached me looking for a book about “regular” monkeys. My face went blank, wheels spinning. What is a “regular monkey”? There is no book called Monkeys of course only specific species. Well, I can see it in my head. What it looks like this regular monkey, but really are they chimpanzees? I don’t really know.
I think many people would get a kick of out librarian’s google searches. I get to the web: “what is a regular monkey”? OK this gets me nowhere, according to Wikipedia Monkeys are dry nosed primates of which there are 260 species. OK think, like Curious George monkey. “what kind of monkey is curious George”. The first hit describes him as looking like a juvenile chimp. Bingo. Back to the OPAC and chimpanzee pulls the book with the picture of exactly what I was looking for.
One of the joys of working a reference desk is following the stream of your thoughts that leads you to the final conclusion. It’s like a chase. I used to get scared each day, not knowing how to answer the wide breadth of questions that you may get in a day. But honestly I’ve found I just say… Well what would I do if I were looking for this information? And I just kind of act like a friend that is helping somebody find something. I lend out my brain. And I think sometimes this is the extent of being a reference librarian. I enjoy the questions that formulate, and sometimes, think my google search history would make an interesting coffee table book.