The library public service desk is divided into two separate but equal departments: the reference department who answer questions and the circulation department that handles materials. These are their stories.
The following is a transcription of a dramatic reenactment of a real reference call. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Banned Library, 2013 June 1, 12:42
Mallory Strudel, library assistant: Thank you for calling the library, can I help you?
Peggy Dumas, patron: Yes, thank you, I have a big problem and need some help.
MS: Sure, what can we do for you?
PD: Well, do you have time? I mean, like, it’s a big problem. Like you don’t know.
MS: I am at the circulation desk, so I may have to help someone here. Is this about your account?
PD: No, it’s about my hair.
MS: What about your hair?
PD: I f#$ked up.
MS: Ma’am, please don’t use that language.
PD: Sorry, I just don’t know what to do. I got this date and you know how that is.
MS: Sure, sure, I understand. Would you like to talk to a professional?
PD: Like a hair dresser?
MS (laughter): No, sorry, a librarian. I may have to put you on hold, but the librarian will be able to help you better.
PD: Fine, that sounds good.
MS: Please hold.
PD: Don’t worry, Mr. Kitty. The librarian is gonna help us, don’t you worry. Yes she is, who’s mommy’s little fuzzy butt? Huh? Who’s-
Evan Banned, reference librarian: This is Evan, can I help you?
PD: -mommy’s little fuzzy-wuzzy butt?
EB: I’m sorry?
PD: Sorry, I was talking to my cat.
EB: No problem, Mallory said you had a problem with you hair? How can I help?
PD: Wait, you’re the librarian?
EB (sigh): Yes, I’m the reference librarian.
PD: But you’re a guy.
EB: Last time I checked.
PD: What do you know about hair?
EB: Personally, not much, but I have an army of book and information all around me that can answer most any question. How can I help you?
PD: So you don’t know anything?
EB: I can answer your question.
PD: Can I talk to the girl again?
EB: I’m sorry she’s at the circulation desk and would not be able to look up anything. I can trade with her if you feel uncomfortable with me helping you, though...
PD: No, I guess you’ll do. What’s your name again?
EB: I’m Evan, I’m the reference librarian here. Can I have your name?
PD: I’m Peggy, Peggy Dumas. Look, Kevin, I need your help.
PD: I’m sorry?
EB: My name is... nevermind, what can I do for you?
PD: I need to know how to get oil out of hair.
EB: Like motor oil or...
PD: Why would I have motor oil in my hair?
EB: Or baby oil?
PD: Olive oil. It’s supposed to make it shiny.
EB: No problem. I’ll just take a look in the health and beauty section. Can you hold?
EB: Thanks, I’ll be right back.
[a click is heard and a minute passes]
PD: Mr. Kitty, don’t eat your own poop. Nasty kitty.
[another minute passes and another click is heard]
EB: Miss Dumas?
EB: I checked the indexes of a couple of our health and beauty books. I found a mention of olive oil in hair in one of them and it does mention how to get it out.
EB: Mostly it says just keep washing with shampoo. The oil will eventually come out on its own.
PD: But that’s not good enough. I need it out tonight.
EB: I’m sorry, I checked a few more books, but they pretty much said the same thing about oily hair. One mentioned using lemon juice...
PD: I’ve washed seven times! I can’t... No, this isn’t right, it’s supposed to be shiny!
EB: Seven times?
PD: She said just put a little in, so I thought, “more the merrier” right?
EB: Okay... How much olive oil did you-
PD: A cup!
EB: You put a cup of olive oil in you hair?
PD: (sounds of crying)
EB: Ma’am, it’ll be okay. Don’t worry about it. We all make mistakes..
PD: We met online!
PD: My date... He’s gonna hate me.
EB: I’m sure that’s not right, you sound fine to me.
EB: Yeah. Look the book recommends trying a teaspoon of lemon juice in a gallon of water or just keep on washing using your normal amount of shampoo. The oil will come out eventually.
PD: You really think I sound fine?
EB: I think you’re going to be okay, Miss Dumas.
PD: Call me Peggy.
EB: Okay... Can I help you with anything else?
PD: Can you hold that book you looked up for me behind the desk? I think I want to come in to get it.
EB: Okay, it’ll be at the circulation desk with your name on it.
PD: Sounds good. Guess, I’ll get to washing.
EB: Great. Hope everything works out.
PD: Goodbye, Kevin.
EB: It’s... Nevermind.
What happens in the circulation department when Peggy Dumas comes to get her book? Find out on the second half of Ref & Circ: Hair Done.