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April 05, 2004

How to Bungle a Reference Question

So I take a call to our general line, because the one official librarian in the office today is already on the phone. It's one of the secretaries, who needs a copy of a state statute emailed to her and the attorney who needs it. She has a thick-as-molasses Southern accent, so I hear "HOSS-spittle Aw-THARH-oh-tee Lahr." When I ask her to confirm the name of the statute I just can't make out that last word, so I ask her to spell it. Turns out she wants the Hospital Authority Law.

Crap.

Naturally she has no confidence that I'll be able to find this, so after successfully going into West's eLibraries and emailing the document to her, I find her here in the library looking at the statute in the book. She wants the whole article, not just the first section that I found, fair enough. To salvage the situation, I tell her I will check with the librarian, who's now off the phone, and he sends it to her.

This should not have been that hard. But because I was tentative - because I didn't want to offend her because I couldn't understand her, she must think I'm an idiot, and this will color our future dealings. Yeehaw.

Yours, &c., LC | 05:12 PM | Librariana | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

i think i heard her talking through the speaker phone on my cube-mates phone today!

Posted by: marco at April 5, 2004 07:09 PM

As a southerner myself, I have to agree.... we can have the thickest accents. I sometimes do not even understand my own kind.:) I enjoy your blog, thanks.:)

Posted by: Natalie at April 7, 2004 08:21 AM

The trick to understanding southerners is to slow your brain down to about half-speed, and then you should be fine. I am a southerner, so I can say this.

Posted by: skimkins at April 8, 2004 10:10 AM