I was starting to think we'd reached the point in the semester when there were few reference questions because everyone's gearing up for finals and actually writing the papers. And last week, that theory seemed to be holding true. To my relief, this week turned out differently.
On Tuesday, I Roamed around the library as I have been; I think I've pretty well fallen into a pattern of what areas I visit in what order. I start on the bottom floor which is actually below the 'main floor' and the front entrance. It was down here that I saw the sub-tabular snoozing student earlier in the semester, so I always keep an eye out for similar schenanigans on the bottom floor. Sadly, I've had no repeats yet.
There was a fellow sitting in the reading room who had a book with him that I recognized, so I stopped to talk. Every week I get to put books from the New Book shelves out on a simple display; just to get the book covers turned out where the students will see them. I also include some of the art books from our Oversize book collection, which normally sees little circulation. Anyway, the book I recognized was one I had put out for display the previous week. I decided that this was a good "in" for a conversation, and we got to talking for a while about the book, about his project and the libraries facilities.
I approached one group of students who were talking and writing animatedly, which seemed like a good bet they were all working on a project. It turned out they were all studying for the same test, in one of the big general survey courses. They had a big timeline which apparently had to be reproduced or properly labeled on the exam. We chatted a while about the class and the professor, whom the students regarded as tough but good. Even though I answered no reference questions, this stop and the one in the reading room were to me profitable interviews; making the case without saying so that librarians are approachable, available, and interested in the students' studies.
As I continued on my way, I noted with great amusement two or three other knots of students, holed up in the group study rooms, diagramming the same timeline on the writable walls. As I studied the diagram, one of the students looked up and saw me. I pointed to the diagram, gave a knowing smile, waved and wished her the best with the test. Her reaction said she appreciated the good wishes.
Earlier the week, I was on my way back to the main desk where we store the Roaming tablets, to put it away, when I saw a student was wrangling with one of the catalog computers. It had frozen up (again), so I offered to utilize the tablet to help her find the book she wanted. This turned into an hour long search of the catalog and several databases for information on technological advances in World War One. We camped out in Class U (Military Science) and collected a pile of books before I had to depart for a meeting. The meeting, predictably, was less fun than sitting on the floor in the stacks poring over books.
I mention this because today as I was getting the tablet ready to go Roaming, one of our student workers told me very excitedly that this student I had helped lived on her floor; and I had made such an impression with my assistance that I was now her 'favorite librarian'.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it just doesn't get better than that.