At the ref desk--remarkable!

Submitted by rochelle on Thu, 01/29/2004 - 16:08

I'm continually surprised at the personal stories that patrons share in the course of trying to find information. Yesterday, a 20-something guy came in, looking for an article about a new Illinois law that extends the statute of limitations for people who, as children, were molested by clerics. I found an article, but wanted to find the statute. Since it's so new, it hadn't been added to the statutes, so it was taking me a long time. While we were looking, the guy, without any sort of prompting, spilled his whole story to me. The armchair psychologist in me was trying to figure out his motive for telling me this very personal story, but regardless of the reason, I found it remarkable and was reminded of the awesome responsibility that sometimes comes to us as information providers. This guy knows nothing about me, my viewpoint, my education or training, but he trusted me to help him with something that would be best handled by a counselor and a lawyer, all because I'm a LIBRARIAN. This isn't a unique situation--I'm sure you all have similar stories. It's just humbling and, at times, alarming, to realize how much power and authority some people assume librarians have.