Tuesday, July 10, 2007

IM Reference 2, Electric Bugaloo 

We're really trying to get administration buy-in instant message reference. They want a demonstration, and this is what I fear will happen as they're all gathered 'round my computer screen.

Patron: I need some of the uses for pi
Librarian: Hello, welcome to IM reference. Do you want some practical applications for pi?
Patron: Yep
Librarian: According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, it can be used “in various formulas of physics and engineering to describe such periodic phenomena as the motion of pendulums, the vibration of strings, and alternating electric currents.” It can also be used in cryptography, to describe the DNA double helix, analyzing the ripples on water…
Patron: That's not the kind of pi I mean
Librarian: I'm sorry. I'm not sure I understand your question
Patron: I mean hair pi
Librarian: Excuse me?
Patron: Do u have big tits?
Librarian: Your question is inappropriate and I must end this session.
Patron: Aw come on help me out

We don't do IM Reference because of staffing issues. I think it's a good idea. However, I have heard many stories of abusive patrons via IM... Typing in real time seems to bring out the worst in people.
wow...what a creative play on the word pi.You mean Britannica didn't cover that?

Sorry about that experience. It only takes one bad apple..
This brings back memories. I work for a large library system and don't do Ask Now (or whatever it's called now) anymore, but whenever I got one of those "inappropriate" questions, I was secretly relieved... because I didn't have to answer it. (hee hee) It was the in-depth, real questions that were answerable (but required lots of actual searching) that killed me...
OK, I'm evil because I thought that was totally hilarious. Disgusting, but hilarious!

Hope all is well!

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