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Roving Reference

Yesterday I had a wonderful and busy reference shift. It was rewarding to be able to help students with everything from computer glitches to locating biographies of people with a certain disorder. A colleague tried to ask a question a few times, but students kept coming up. In a quiet moment I IM’d her to ask what she wanted, and the next quiet moment allowed me to send her an answer. I guess I thrive on juggling, to a certain degree.

Strangely, my roving reference interview didn’t take place until, (say this in a deep movie announcer voice) later that same day, (/movie announcer voice) as I was a couple miles from home. At a slightly odd intersection a semi-truck in front of me straddled the double yellow and stopped. No signals, and no safe way around on either side had me stopped a few yard back from him. (I didn’t want him to roll back into me.)

The driver hopped out of his rig, I assumed to check on a piece of equipment. Except that after he rounded the backend, he kept walking towards me. His body language indicated that he was confused and had a question, so I rolled down the window a bit. He asked, “Which way is North?” I pointed in the proper direction. But every instinct in my body said that this wasn’t his real question. So in good reference interview fashion I got him to tell me he wanted to go to Route 31 and his ultimate destination was Rochester and that he couldn’t use the Thruway. Which would have been the easiest, heck, we were less than 100 feet away from it.

So I gave him the best directions to get to 31. I described the way to get to route 31 and before I’d gotten him to his second turn he looked very confused, so I started over again, leaving out landmarks that I had thought would be useful the first time. “Turn left at this intersection that we’re at right now. at the next stop sign turn left again on and stay on that road, even when it makes a 90 degree turn. The first stoplight will be Route 31, turn left to go towards Rochester.” He thanked me for directions, decried the lack of signage on this back-country road that runs parallel to the thruway for all of maybe 2 miles and got back in his rig. My route home took me most of the way down the same road I sent him, so I waited long enough at my turn to make sure he went the right way (Left) at the stop sign. After some hesitation at the stop sign a left signal turned on and he made his turn. I hope he got there.

So that’s the story of my roving reference from my car. Which is really funny since I don’t have any indication on the car that I’m a librarian, just that I’m an Amerks fan.