Monday, September 17, 2007

Psych classes for MLIS students?

SLIS student, Library Computer Guy writes:
It has been quite a while since I took Psych 101 and I’m just thinking some refresher might be in order for the public librarian in an MLIS program.

And he gives a couple of examples as to why he considers this
...There was the man who was angry that the Devil seemed to be blocking his Yahoo email account... but he seemed to believe I was in league with the Devil at some point...

Luckily for LCG, it's just not a public library thing. When I worked in academia we had all sorts come in - and some with tenure.

One gentleman wanted the "secret government document" that allowed President Clinton to come into people's homes at night and take their guns without them knowing about it. I got yelled at by a female student once for not doing my "f*cking job" which she believed included me writing her English essay. I got berated, while at the reference desk, by a crying emertis faculty member for withdrawing (and giving to another library) an incomplete series of journals. I got scolded over the phone for not recording an entire commercial VHS tape for someone to have a personal copy of because she "needed it". One lady wanted to know the average length of the ...err... male member so she could prove to her boyfriend he wasn't below average (hello can you say TMI!!!) ...and oh the list goes on...

The fact is -- no matter where you work in libraries you'll encounter individuals, both public and colleagues, who you'll question their mental state and eventually your own for working in libraries. But that's the joy of being part of a society and having human clients. And just when you think you've learned how to deal with a certain type of individual a whole knew category of WTF will pop up. It's a never ending adventure. ;-)

That's why it's important to have a strong support network, be it professionally (in person, like coworkers, or virtually, via dicussion groups) or personally (friends and family in which you can confide). And truth be told I don't know if a Psychology class would help -- all it would do in my case is confirm my fear that I'm an enabler of all those around me and foster their invidual psychosis. (Which probably applies to all librarians)

So what stories do you have to share?


Kate. said...

Recently, I recieved an invitation for a weekend trip to Branson, MO from an older gentleman patron. "All expenses paid." Yum.

Number one rule (in my book) for public service: Never sit down on a public chair without feeling it first. You might end up with soggy pants.

Adri said...

:-) I got those kind of offers when I worked at a truck stop in college. Except they tended to be driving to California.

Anonymous said...

In the span of one semester: A young student wrote me a note (using the library computers) to tell me he had a crush on me; A woman sat down at the reference desk and asked me to explain how to write a paper with more than three "points" in it; An older man announced that he was a minister, then admonished me to read the scriptures regularly. The lady with him said "Amen!"; A student told me the story of his hectic day and then begged me to type up his homework for him - due in a few hours. I declined, even after he offered cash; A young woman called the reference desk. She explained that her class meets in the library, the class final was in 15 minutes and she lives 30 minutes away. She then asked me to go and ask the professor to come to the phone, because she was unsure if she needed to be there!