Patron Theft

January 7, 2008

We don’t work on commission here, but we do thrive on building relationships with our patrons, and patron-stealing isn’t cool. What’s patron-stealing? A colleague butting in on my conversation with a patron about choosing a book for her book group just a few minutes ago. What happens is this: my colleague acts is though she is the only one who knows anything about book groups – she knows more even than the patron, in fact – and jumps into the conversation, suggesting a book without hearing the patron’s requirements, and then she beckons the patron over to her side of the desk and deliberately pretends not to hear the phone ringing, so that I am forced to answer and be parted from my patron, despite the fact that we were mid-sentence.

Thankfully, this incident of patron-stealing didn’t stick because the patron did not find my colleague’s suggestions helpful, and she returned to me once my phone call (a quick request for a book) was complete. We ended up compiling a good list of leads for the patron’s book group, I showed her how to use NoveList, and then she recommended a book she had just finished. A perfectly excellent interaction, despite the attempted subterfuge. My rage was slightly diminished.

I know why it happened. This is just the way this woman rolls. She’s the Experienced Librarian, and I am the New Girl. She knows more, and instead of teaching me (a small blessing, honestly) she just takes over when she thinks she should.

I wouldn’t have minded a team effort – in fact, that’s one of things we do well at the reference desk, especially in terms of readers’ advisory since we all have wildly different reading interests. But there’s a big difference between cooperation and outright theft, and on top of the website playing Hide and Seek with me this morning, I was not in the mood to have my readers’ advisory cred questioned. I may be the new girl, but I give good RA.

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