Stories from the stacks: Swiss Army Librarian

Photo: 'Metro Emergency Call Sign' CC-BY Raymond Bryson

Photo: ‘Metro Emergency Call Sign’ CC-BY Raymond Bryson

The Swiss Army Librarian is Brian Herzog, a reference librarian from a public library in the United States. On his blog, he shares stories from his reference desk encounters as well as other library related posts.  As anyone who has spent time on a reference desk is aware – librarians get asked all kinds of questions as we are seen as a safe, trusted source. Recently Brian shared a piece about an unexpected question he got at the reference desk and how he handled it:



This question definitely took me by surprised and I don’t think I did a great job of answering it.

A patron, who I would guess was in her sixties, walks up to the desk and says,

Do you have a book to tell you what to do in case of an emergency? I’ve been taking care of my mother but no one tells you what to do if something were to happen.

For whatever reason, my first thought was that “if something were to happen” was a euphemism for “my mother dying” – but then I thought, no, that can’t be right.

We do have books on first aid and emergency preparedness, but just to be on the safe side I asked the patron what kind of information she was looking for. She said,

Like who are you supposed to call or what are you supposed to do? I mean other than a funeral home.

Oh, so we were talking about that.

Find out how Brian answered the question over at Swiss Army Librarian. 


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