Author Topic: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!  (Read 1183370 times)

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Redsoil

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4965 on: October 25, 2013, 08:27:15 AM »
A librarian commenting on your reading choices is a violation?  Hmm.  Back when I worked in the library (Sydney, so not a small town) it was considered good service!  A librarian who could assist you in accessing new material you were likely to enjoy was a valued service by many of our readers, and we had a lot of good comments on this aspect of our branches.
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flickan

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4966 on: October 25, 2013, 08:47:41 AM »
A librarian commenting on your reading choices is a violation?  Hmm.  Back when I worked in the library (Sydney, so not a small town) it was considered good service!  A librarian who could assist you in accessing new material you were likely to enjoy was a valued service by many of our readers, and we had a lot of good comments on this aspect of our branches.

I would feel incredibly uncomfortable to have a librarian comment on the books I was checking out.  Especially as I like to take out a lot of different kinds of nonfiction at once; pscyhology, historical and religious studies (many times at the same time)... stuff that I occasionally feel self-concious about. 

I think it's great if someone is able to ask a librarian for a recommendation and get a good recommendation.  I just don't want them taking it upon themselves to inspect what I'm taking out and try to figure out what I'm interested in.  I remember one time getting a couple of books on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and a book on sexual psychology and just praying the librarian wouldn't give me a questioning look about that combination.

Redsoil

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4967 on: October 25, 2013, 08:54:30 AM »
I do tend to think this may be a cultural difference between countries.  I've noticed that many posters in the US prefer not to have comments or interaction at all in many situations, whereas in Australia, it's very common and seen as friendly/useful. 
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flickan

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4968 on: October 25, 2013, 09:36:09 AM »
I do tend to think this may be a cultural difference between countries.  I've noticed that many posters in the US prefer not to have comments or interaction at all in many situations, whereas in Australia, it's very common and seen as friendly/useful.

This is definitely the case.

I actually grew up in a place in the US which was renowned for it's friendly and engaging people, even by American standards.  But when we moved up north and to a much more urban enviornment I learned to regard excessively friendliness as instrusive and sometimes kind of scary.  I'm also an asocial introvert so that doesn't help things. 

I've come to regard polite disinterest as the pinacle of good customer service to the point that I found the UK a relief in terms of the way people interact.  Out in public everyone is a champion of minding their own business.

Having travelled and also having met people from all over I can vouch to say that Australians are the friendliest people on earth.  They are the most charming, the most engaging, the most genuine, and the most helpful.  So I suppose if I was asked about my reading habits in Sydney I would not find it so unsettling.  It's just outside the comfort zone of my day-to-day life here.

rose red

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4969 on: October 25, 2013, 09:42:09 AM »
I librarians at my library are nice and never make comments, but I was still thrilled the day they put in a self checkout :-\.

Hillia

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4970 on: October 25, 2013, 09:49:55 AM »
I don't know...I kind of enjoy it when the librarian gives a quick, 'Oh, this book was really good' or 'I love this author'.  I remember once, I was checking out a Sherlock Holmes collection, and the slightly older gentleman checking me out said, 'Quick, Watson, the game is afoot!'  It tickled me so, I replied, 'Holmes, you astonish me!' and we both giggled. It was fun, just a little shared enjoyment of the stories.
 
Now I agree, there are things I don't want commented on, like any self help book that's on a personal level, or a history of Scrabble, or something similar, I don't really want to have a conversation, but as a general rule it wouldn't bother me if the librarian made a quick, positive comment on a book.

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Morrigan

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4971 on: October 25, 2013, 10:24:48 AM »
A librarian commenting on your reading choices is a violation?  Hmm.  Back when I worked in the library (Sydney, so not a small town) it was considered good service!  A librarian who could assist you in accessing new material you were likely to enjoy was a valued service by many of our readers, and we had a lot of good comments on this aspect of our branches.

I would feel incredibly uncomfortable to have a librarian comment on the books I was checking out.  Especially as I like to take out a lot of different kinds of nonfiction at once; pscyhology, historical and religious studies (many times at the same time)... stuff that I occasionally feel self-concious about. 

I think it's great if someone is able to ask a librarian for a recommendation and get a good recommendation.  I just don't want them taking it upon themselves to inspect what I'm taking out and try to figure out what I'm interested in.  I remember one time getting a couple of books on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and a book on sexual psychology and just praying the librarian wouldn't give me a questioning look about that combination.

Re: the bolded

I'm a reference librarian, constantly dealing with the NF section.  If you had asked for any of these types of books, not only would I help you find the ones that we have (or have to order), but I'd also have suggestions of my own.  Certain authors, related subjects etc that I personally find interesting.  Seeing as I tend to read NF over fiction (I do have favorite fiction authors, but most of what I read is NF), I'm usually full of suggestions.

That combination?  I personally wouldn't blink.  I would probably ask a few questions, but the combination?  Nope.  Wouldn't bother me one bit.  Of course, I just checked out the new Elizabeth Smart biography, a book on Nazi Doctors, the new Mormon biography (The Witness Wore Red) and a few others.  So, nope, wouldn't bother this librarian in the least.

Thipu1

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4972 on: October 25, 2013, 10:27:31 AM »
flickan wrote:

"Then there was a creepy moment at the photo counter many years ago where the clerk handed the pictures back to me with a big smile and said, "You guys look like you were having a good time!""

I wouldn't consider that overly creepy.  For photo processing machines, the final quality control is usually the operator looking over each photo so that they can verify that it printed cleanly and that it's properly colored, so having someone looking at the pictures is the norm.  That he remembered you from them is nothing special.  It could be that yours were the only one he ran recently or most of the orders were boring snapshots and so yours stood out, or maybe he just has a good memory.
Virg

We had something a bit like that happen some years ago.  We were attending MIL and FIL's 50 th Anniversary.  Earlier in the week we had been flight-seeing in the Grand Canyon and thought the family might like to see our pictures.  There wasn't time to have them developed at home so we brought the film and had it developed in the town where the party was being held. 

When we went to pick them up, the owner of the photo shop liked one of the shots so much he asked if he could make an enlargement and hang it in the place. 

We had a good laugh about this because Mr. Thipu is legally blind.   

Redsoil

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4973 on: October 26, 2013, 03:53:12 AM »
Interesting to see the different perspectives on preferred levels of service.  Obviously, if a patron seems more "private", or subject matter seems sensitive, then discretion is advised.  All part of being a good librarian and knowing people's preferred levels of comfort (many librarians are quite good at "reading" people as well as books!).

As mentioned, it was often useful to patrons if we mentioned that "this related book by other author is really good - you might enjoy their work".  Or a suggestion on research materials that they may not have considered.  It was usual to say if we'd read a book they were checking out, or to let them know of new books we had available on similar themes etc.  (Again, taking into account possible privacy issues/personalities.) 
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Jocelyn

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4974 on: October 26, 2013, 11:10:24 AM »
Ah, once upon a time, it was a GOOD thing to be widely read...
If the librarian's comments weren't overtly critical, I wouldn't mind. If someone said, 'That's an interesting range of subjects,' I'd probably say, 'Isn't it?' and go on. :D

Slartibartfast

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4975 on: October 26, 2013, 11:16:03 AM »
Ah, once upon a time, it was a GOOD thing to be widely read...
If the librarian's comments weren't overtly critical, I wouldn't mind. If someone said, 'That's an interesting range of subjects,' I'd probably say, 'Isn't it?' and go on. :D

Part of my job as a librarian was to help patrons get the materials they needed - which weren't necessarily the materials they THOUGHT they needed.  So if a school-age kid came through with three books on Cleopatra and I happened to know there was a good book at about his/her level but it was in a display and not on the shelf at the moment, part of my job was to say "Oh, do you have a report on her?  There's a great book over there on that wall!"  Similarly, if they come through with three nonfiction books about Cleopatra and one fictional biography which had a cover making it look like it was more historically accurate than it was, I would say something then too.

Thipu1

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4976 on: October 26, 2013, 11:25:38 AM »
This happened all the time at the library in the 1980s and early 1990s. 

There wasn't much on the Internet but the librarian checked in and cataloged every bit of material that arrived. It was easy for her to alert readers about rather obscure articles that could be of use in their research. 

As an example, a curator was putting together a small show on ancient goddesses.  A book titled 'Dancing at the Dawn of Agriculture' might not seem promising but it plenty of helpful information.

As other posters have said, part of being a good librarian is being to read people. 

MommyPenguin

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4977 on: October 26, 2013, 01:09:52 PM »
I agree.  I think a librarian (or anybody) who is in a job in which comments on items might usually be okay, should be aware of purchases that might be a little awkward, and should know not to comment.   Somebody is checking out "The Girls' Body Book," the "Kama Sutra," or the Koran?  No comment.  (With the Koran, they might be religiously Muslim whether they look it or not, or they might be somebody of another religion who is reading it for their edification.  Since you don't know, just about any comment you make could unintentionally be a problem.)  If somebody is in the checkout line, you'd obviously want to refrain from commenting on sanitary napkins, pregnancy tests, or condoms... but also on commenting on athlete's foot cream.  I think medical/sexual/religious/political would be the big things to avoid in a general sense.  And there should definitely be no comments that imply judgment, whether positive or negative ("Wow, you must really like apples!" even).

Sirius

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4978 on: October 26, 2013, 01:16:38 PM »
I don't mind librarians or book store clerks saying something like, "I see you like mysteries.  Have you read anything by Blahblah Mysterywriter?"  I've gotten some good books that way.

On the other hand, back when I was 14 (I've told this story before) I tried to check out a complicated book on astronomy, and the librarian refused to let me check it out because she felt it was "too hard" for me.  My dad checked it out, and I read it through twice before it was due to go back.  I had been an avid amateur astronomer for years at that point, and knew the sky better than a lot of adults do. 


Jocelyn

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Re: "I'm never shopping THERE again!" Share your story!
« Reply #4979 on: October 26, 2013, 02:18:19 PM »
That's something I don't get. So WHAT if the book is too hard for you? What did she think would happen, you'd rip the book apart like a frustrated toddler?
If she'd said, 'This book is pretty advanced- have you read Book X and Book Y? They're better introductions to the topic.' THAT would be useful. You could have said you'd read them, and wanted more. Or another person could have been routed to a better introductory book. But just to refuse you the book, and not offer any other suggestions? That's weird.