My second interview, I think, was a bit better than my first interview. I would think that after a few interviews between LIB 5300 and LIB 5020, I would be a bit more comfortable playing the librarian but I am not. It has gotten easier but I am still nervous. I think I am most worried about not being able to answer the patron’s questions. I want to make sure I can give them exactly what they are looking for; even if they don’t know exactly what they are looking for! For each interview, I have tried to remember times I have been to the library and how I wanted my questions answered. I believe I have had unrealistic expectations of myself and that has made me more nervous than necessary.
For this interview, I had the chance to interview Carol. She is a tenth grade teacher looking for resources to use in a science lesson on the planets. This was a new project for her so she had limited resources on-hand and wanted to use what information I was able to give her as a basis for the assignment materials. She wanted Internet resources as well as print resources. She also requested resources that could be used by various leveled students. She especially was concerned about one particular student with reading difficulties so she needed some audio references.
Carol was very easy to interview. She was clear on what she needed and was open to a number of suggestions. She was basically starting from scratch so she had very few resources to start with. She was quick to answer all my questions clearly and directly. I would hope that all patrons were as pleasant and easy to interview as Carol.
One thing I really tried to do was keep the conversation going. I don’t like having lapses of time when no one is talking. Even if the patron can see that I am attempting to look up their resources, I still don’t want there to be a period of silence; even if I have to fill the space with simple conversation about what they are looking for. I have felt before that I was rambling so I have worked on keeping the conversation short and focused on what the patron is looking for. I want to be friendly without being overly friendly. I want to convey the impression that I am interested in what they are working on and that I do want to help.
As far as answering questions, I was far more confident this time than the first time I was the “librarian”. The pathfinder was organized well and was extremely easy to follow. The resource descriptions definitely helped. I was able to send her links to several websites that she could incorporate into her lessons. There was one particular site that had several interactive activities for the students. And for her one student with the reading difficulties, I was able to send a link to a podcast webpage set up by a science professor. In the podcasts, the professor discussed subjects like an introduction to the solar system and specific on the planets. I felt this resource was great for the audio learner. I feel that I was able to give her several good resources to start her planets reference library. One thing I wish I had done was give her my contact information before we finished the interview. I think it would make a patron feel a little more confident in a librarian if they offered a way to contact them again if necessary. If the interview was a bit extensive, contacting the same librarian would be much easier than having to go through the entire process with someone unfamiliar with the reference needs.
Once again, I loved having the Belk librarian sit-in on our interviews. And again, I did feel rather intimidated simply because they are professional that have probably interviewed a number of patrons. They are far more experienced than I am but even with that, it was nice having their input. Librarian Geri was very helpful in the first interview. I tried remembering all the things she talked about so I could use them in the second interview but I really don’t think I did a good job! Librarian Jon (if I remember his name correctly) was great, too. I loved his enthusiasm and his eagerness to help. He was quite encouraging. I appreciated the fact that the first thing he did was point out the positives about the interview. It makes me feel a little better to know what I did right before we discussed what I can work on. I also liked the way that he questioned how we felt the interview went before he pointed out areas we might want to work on. He did mention that I might consider being a little less “helpful” and direct the patron to where to find the resources as opposed to getting the resources for them. And he was right; I found myself wanting to find specific resources instead of showing the patron how to find the references and materials.
I have to be honest; this semester has been a bit overwhelming. These interviews have been a source of stress but at the same time, I feel like I have learned quite a bit from them. I am still worried that one day I will have a patron that requests information on a subject I have no idea about. Having the pathfinders was a tremendous help. I feel more comfortable using search tools like pathfinders and Novelist. I also feel better about what types of questions to ask in order to find out more about what the patron needs. The role of the librarian is far more multifaceted than I ever imagined. I want to take all I have learned from my interviews, as well as the other interviews I heard, to become a great librarian.