I have had the same person in the tech center two days in a row working painstakingly on a fancy word document. Like the weird ones where he wants to add boxes and put in images and line things up, etc. I hate word. The only thing I ever use word for is to type words, and it works out just fine. Sometimes even with the whole header/footer thing or footnotes it can get a little weird. I have never appreciated it for complex things such a tables, or intricate forms, with designs and lines and other fancy things. I find that it’s often temperamental and annoying, that it can be tricky and basically doesn’t ever want to do what you tell it to do. Maybe it’s user error (a.k.a. me not knowing how to really use it very well) but I find that it is just easier to use excel for boxes and rows of tables, or Publisher for forms that require lines and images where you need to freely be able to move things around where you want them. But this guy keeps calling me over every 10 minutes to ask me why word won’t let him move his picture. My favorite from this series of interactions was:
I just want these two last lines to be on the page above.
OK Well they went down to a new page because there is no physical room on the page above.
Well I just want them on that page above it.
I understand that, but as you have it now there is no space for them. You can either make your font smaller, or you can mess with your spacing until it all fits.
Then he just looks at me blankly. Thankfully I got out of there like right when he was asking me something along these lines for like the fifth time. But today it’s more of the same. I didn’t really go to school to do marketing materials, nor am I going to sit and fiddle with your word document for an hour until it looks like you want it to. But I can direct you to some online word tutorials…
I had another user who wanted to apply for an EIN number through the IRS. OK great, I told him I could get him to the site, but he would have to complete all the information on his own, that I couldn’t help him with the process since I’m in no way qualified and don’t know anything about the tax implementations, etc. I said this because I knew he was going to be a needy one, but he seemed to understand. At least until he started calling me over every 3 minutes.
First he wanted to know if he qualified as a joint venture. I told him I would have no way of knowing that, and I couldn’t help him with this process. Calls me over again 2 minutes later wanting to know when the end of his fiscal year was, I told him that I would have no way of knowing this and this is information he needed to provide on his own behalf. I showed him how to click on the blue links that showed him the help screens that give explanations about what the questions are asking. Then he keeps calling me over for thing after thing. I feel bad because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. But neither do I, and as a library worker I’m not responsible for providing this help to him, if anything I could really mess him up here. Finally he gets the darn EIN and there’s something on the letter he doesn’t understand about mailing in a payment, so he asks me what that was. I was like PLEASE for your sake call the IRS number listed for help.
People come through all the time and ask us to help them with various things. Federal tax information, real estate loans, FAFSAs, personal banking, really private stuff. I’ve had multiple people try to hand me their cell phones to talk to their bank, or other financial institution about something that they were trying to handle and just couldn’t figure out. It’s interesting how many people tell me that they don’t even know why libraries exist, and that they may be obsolete in the near future. But on the flip side I see patrons here using the library as their center for basically well, everything. Many patrons rely on us to know things that they don’t. Like anything and everything. Like we are their niece or nephew coming over to help them set up the computer, or email accounts, or to give directions. I mean who else is going to tell people the owners of 7 different specific baseball teams, or how to spell the word uhhhhhhhh. I used to feel bad that I couldn’t answer everything that was asked of me, but really we are just here to point in the direction of information for you. Not to do your things for you. Just had to get that off my chest after today. (Mic drop)