Ahem. As I was saying, this patron has come to me once before. He asked for similar resources both times. He needed photographs of animals for the tattoos he was preparing to ink on someone. Apparently, he’s an artist that only takes customers on referrals and draws up the designs himself. He wanted photographs on which to base his design.
The first time I helped him, he wanted a picture of a wolf howling at the sky. He was insistent that a book was necessary. I could have pushed more or dug into why he needed the picture, but I didn’t. He had his wife and young son with him and seemed to be in a hurry. Nonetheless, I encouraged him to return to the Reference Desk if the books I suggested didn’t have what he wanted. Luckily, he listened to me and ended back up at my desk. After we talked a bit, he explained what he needed the photos for. I offered to set him up on a public computer, but he didn’t want to. He wasn’t confident of his computer skills. I did a few searches using Google Images and quickly found some options and printed them out. He left happy.
I didn’t expect to see this patron again. He hadn’t acted familiar with the library; I had to inform him that there actually was a second floor to the building, and that his child could play up there in the Children’s Area while he was searching for pictures. I was really pleased when he came in to the library again this week. This time he was alone. He came straight to the Reference Desk and asked for help. This time it was tree frogs and hibiscus flowers. Before he left with the pictures I’d found, he said, “I never knew the library had so much stuff and could be so helpful!”
This reference interview was so satisfying to me because I feel that we connected with someone in the community that hadn’t known about the resources we offer. This gentleman is part of a demographic that is traditionally hard to reach (macho men in their early thirties in a blue collar job). He might tell other people about how we helped him. Even if he doesn’t, he is still a supporter of the library. I know that the next time he has a question, he’ll think of us. And who knows, maybe his son and wife will come to storytime. New connections are made and we did our job right. How awesome is that?!