the user is often right

Aaron Schmidt, Dominican graduate, author of walking paper and librarian at the Thomas Ford Library in Western Springs (they’ve got wi-fi and green lamps and a job opening for a magazine reference person (so head over there and apply!) has an excellent post about being user-centered instead of library-centered. If you’ve taken Reference, you’ve probably noticed that when people talk about doing reference work, they spend a little time on the importance of serving patrons and following RUSA guidelines, but then they spend a lot of time talking about annoying patrons.

If you are excited about the idea of doing reference work, if you believe that everyone has the same right to your assistance, regardless of how strange or kooky or misguided they* seem, if you think that we ought to be looking for ways to make the library more useful to patrons instead of making patrons more accomodating to us, Aaron’s post is encouraging. And if you want to see someone providing that kind of reference service on a daily basis, with compassion, intelligence, and humility, I urge you to become a disciple of the Feel-good Librarian.

*I have decided, at long last, to favor gender neutrality over grammatical accuracy.