Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The more you care, the less you have my attention.

I like when people ask me things then step away to let me do my job.

I hate when people attempt to convince me that the thing they seek is the most awesome thing that has ever been sought by anyone.

I had a woman call today who wanted me to find her all of the books written about her favorite artist, an underrated genius, who, although recognized by his peers, is mostly overlooked today, so that I would read the list to her over the phone and she could tell me which of the books the library should get. I searched WorldCat and found that there is exactly one book about that artist, published thirty years ago, and currently owned by seven libraries.

She didn't want an ILL; she wanted us to purchase the titles based on her recommendation.

With each incremental increase of excitement in her voice, my interest in locating her volume dwindled until all I could say is, "We'll have someone work on that for you and call you back." Although I had done a pretty thorough search while she yakked on and on, I told her that I only took the questions and that someone else would search for her and then call her back. Who would call her back? she wondered. I don't know, I said, only it wouldn't be me. I wasn't going to discuss or argue with her about how the library should buy non-existent books regardless of how positive she was that many such books existed.

I really hate when people try to engage me in their interests as if this will create some bond between us and I will work that much harder to find their crap. But it's the opposite; tell me what you want, then back off and let me work my magic.

Give up on trying to control me and let me do my job, and I will find all that dopey stuff you care so much about, and more. Otherwise, excuse me while I sharpen pencils, read my email, yawn, and even pick my nose (both nostrils at once).