“never met a librarian like that before”

i’ve been training at the information (a.k.a. reference) desk for the past month, in anticipation of staffing it for a couple hours each week. yesterday a young woman and man approached the desk, and i smiled as they walked toward me and said, “hey, what’s up?” they replied they were visiting campus for the day and came to see the building. i grabbed a map of the building and told them they had to go to the third floor and catch the view because it was one of those rare, perfectly clear los angeles days. they asked for a campus map too. i circled the library building and drew a line from it to the main quad where there was to be live music and food at noon. when i finished giving the directions the woman took a little step back and said, “i like your energy. you’re so cool and helpful. i’ve never met a librarian like that before.” i said thanks and they went on their way, but her comment stuck with me all day and now spilled into the day after.

“never met a librarian like that before.” i should be pleased at the compliment but instead am a little sad. the service i performed was not exceptional, i believe. i think it’s what anyone at our information desk would do if a visitor came in the building. it’s disappointing that she’s encountered librarians in the past who haven’t performed at that level. maybe it was the smile that sold her? 🙂

About Marie Kennedy

Putting everything into neat piles.

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One Response to “never met a librarian like that before”

  1. Bob says:

    It is hard to comment on this without being slightly pompous and saying, “I get compliments like that too,” but to hell with it. I do get comments/compliments like that, and often I react in a similar manner. I wonder if it is not only your dazzling smile, but the stereotype that anyone working in a “not for profit” environment (government, academics, libraries) is not focused on customer service. I wonder if this stereotype (think Newman from Seinfeld as an archetype) is so prevalent it creates unreasonably low expectations. Therefore, what you think of as normal service looks way above average to those outside our profession.

    Of course, it could simply be that you, paraphrased in the immortal words of Prince, rock the party, you rock the house, you rock the whole world North, East, and South.

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