From the Orchestra Library

If You See Your Librarian at the Grocery Store, and Other Gentle Reminders

Posted in Library Life by kschnack on May 14, 2010

Maybe it’s the time of year, but it seems to be “silly season” in our business.  So I offer these gentle reminders about ways you can help me help you, in the hope that we can all live happily ever after together.

If you see your librarian at the grocery store, maybe it would be a good idea to just talk about the weather or what’s for dinner tonight. Or, at least say “hello” before launching into asking for the music you need. ‘Cuz if you say “do you have the music for July?” I’m probably going to (passively-aggressively) look under the bread and lettuce in my grocery cart and then tell you that I don’t seem to have your music.

If you see your librarian in the parking garage at work or on the elevator, or coming down the hall towards the library but obviously just arriving (with purse, briefcase, jacket, keys, etc.), and it’s NOT AN EMERGENCY, it might be a good idea to consider saying “good evening” before asking for a part or tape or to use the copier or to open the music trunk or whatever else is on your mind. Better yet, go away and come back in a couple of minutes after I’ve had a chance to actually unlock the library, turn on the lights and copier, and drop off my personal belongings. Otherwise you just look like someone who has bad manners and I’ll become someone with bad manners.

If you see your librarian at the concert hall on a gig where s/he is playing and is not the librarian, and you’ve been on vacation all week, and the librarian hasn’t, and you haven’t called in advance to ask about getting a part, maybe you should think twice before asking if you can have the library or music trunk unlocked so you can pick up music that you just remembered you needed when you saw me. The best plan? Don’t ask. And don’t give me any ‘tude when I tell you I am off the clock.

If you see your librarian going into the bathroom at work, don’t stop her right then to ask for music. And if you are of the same gender, please don’t FOLLOW ME INTO THE BATHROOM to ask for something about the music. Really.

I’m serious. That’s just rude.

Oh, and if you are the opposite gender, that doesn’t mean you can follow me in there either.

The thing is, most of us (meaning orchestra librarians) are more than happy to help you out almost any time while we’re on the job if we can, even for non-orchestra favors, and especially if you are in some kind of bind. And if it’s a real emergency, we’re willing to help you at 3:00 in the morning if necessary. Truly, we are. But if you constantly require extra special attention at the last minute, or don’t ask with a “please” and “thank you,” or take advantage of seeing us outside of the job (I already practically live in that library as it is), our willingness to drop everything and help you is going to diminish rapidly.

I know that I don’t always respond to you with the smiliest smile and happy face. I will try to do better. And I don’t expect gifts of wine and chocolate at every turn for helping you with a personal music problem. But a little bit of courtesy in such hectic times would go a long way.

Thank you.



P.S. I should be clear — most of you already are very courteous indeed. And for that I thank you on behalf of all orchestra librarians. The rest of you? You know who you are!


5 Responses to 'If You See Your Librarian at the Grocery Store, and Other Gentle Reminders'

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  1. MR said,

    It’s the kind and curteous requests that make up for the rude ones.

    • kschnack said,

      Indeed they do!

  2. LC said,

    These days, I have found the world of Facebook creeping into world of library requests. I post infrequently and I am careful to not post anything about work (yes, I’m a lurker). However I have received a couple of music requests via Facebook. I politely write back telling them to contact me at work and delete their message. Has anyone else had this experience?

    • kschnack said,

      I’ve only recently joined FB (I know, lame), so haven’t had that happen to me yet. But some of my colleagues have reported it happening. I think your response is very appropriate. it’s called “social” networking for a reason!!

  3. Luca Logi said,

    Hi from a fellow librarian. I can confirm the new facebook trend of asking librarians for music. What people can not understand, representatives of publishers are among my friends, and they could not take lightly requests for unauthorized copies.

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