Sunday, October 31, 2010

Closed Stacks: Just because you want it doesn't mean it exists

A few weeks ago I wrote about the many types of questions we get on a typical day.

One type of question that stands out is the question that hasn't got an answer. Not the sort of answer the person wants, in any case.

Usually, the person is trying to make a point or settle a bet, so they want research or statistics that back them up.

They might have an assignment and they want to answer it in very literal terms based on what their teacher wrote on the assignment sheet.

I was pleased to see a discussion of this very frustrating phenomenon on the Closed Stacks Blog, with plenty of discussion in the comments.

Interestingly, the discussion turned at times to the attitude of the librarian being asked the question. Were they approachable, did they do enough work on behalf of the customer? Did they explain to the customer where they had looked, and what roadblocks there were to finding an answer?

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