Blogging Reference

I didn't blog live today.  It had been a long week, and I didn't have the strength.  I rode to work under an overcast sky.  The prediction had been a 70% chance of rain, but the day gradually cleared to partly cloudy and very humid.

I noticed, after opening the conference room for a group, that the large print section was a shambles, so I spent some quiet time in the morning straightening it.  I discovered  a half dozen DVD's that someone had hidden there behind the books.

Our afternoon was dominated by two young, apparently single, mothers, each with two small children, who were collaborating on a school assignment online.  They had deposited the children at a table with some children's books while they worked on a paper for over two hours.  They really did try to mind their children while they worked, but the tots were unable to restrain themselves from making a lot of noise.  We sympathized, and remarkably, no one complained.  Here were two young women, already mothers, with no fathers around to help, and no money to pay a babysitter, attempting to make a future for themselves.  That is what the public library is all about.

An older man, possibly a retired attorney, wanted to find a list of courses at the FSU law school in the fall.  He wanted to take a course on tax law.  I went to the FSU law school site, and navigated to the fall 2011 course listings, which I printed out for him.

He was astonished.  What had he done wrong?  He had done a search for "Florida State University Law School courses for fall 2011", and spent an hour looking, with no success.  He was too specific, I said.  The reference librarian decides where the information is likely to be found, and goes from there.  Google is not magical.  Even the best search engine still does poorly with natural language queries.

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