My sister works at the reference desk of the Bartlesville library. She is apparently supposed to know everything about everything…or at least know where to find it. I simply can’t understand how they balance this. They also answer calls from anyone wanting information about…anything. Since directory services cost money, apparently she receives calls from people asking her to look up phone numbers…which she does. I was just talking to her when a guy called to have her look up a cartoon character from a cartoon strip he was curious about. She said she would and would call him back. She then googled it.

I was amazed, can they call up and ask anything? “Pretty much.” Although apparently she drew the line recently when someone came and asked my sister to change her plane ticket from an aisle seat to a window seat.

Our conversation ended there since she had to google the cartoon character and get back to her caller. I asked her, “Why can’t you tell him to google it himself?” She answered, “He may not know how to use the internet or have access to it. We are taught not to treat the internet as if it was, ‘the store next door’ that they can be referred to.”

I was floored at the extent of the responsibility they accepted…I finally asked her, “What if someone came in and asked what color the house next door to their own was?” Without any pause or appreciation for the absurdity of the question, she said, “Oh, I would probably refer them to the family and local history librarian.”