February 8, 2007

" No job too small ! "

Every now and then you’ll see those flyers stapled to the lightpole in the neighborhood, advertising handyman services. You know, “carpentry, plumbing, wiring – build, design, remodel, repair – “No job too small“. They usually have all the phone number tabs on the bottom ripped off, because as any homeowner will tell you, everybody’s got a boatload of pesky small jobs they just can’t get done...

I was reminded of those posters the other day when we had a flurry of jobs that demonstrated how we fill a similar role for librarians and information professionals – like those neighborhood handymen, we’re often called upon to perform those pesky “small? jobs.

For example, a patron needed to confirm a word appears on a certain page of a particular edition of a dictionary. Another called wanting confirmation that the page numbers of a 600 + page thesis from 1956 skip from 255 to 257. (Remember the manual typewriter days ? (No automatic page numbering !) oh, and Yes, there was no page 256 !) Another caller asked us to locate and send just one of the graphs from a 1935 Bulletin of the University of Washington Engineering Experiment Station.

In all three cases, the patrons were very appreciative of crossing these pesky jobs off their "too do" lists ! I suppose that's like the homeowner who hires someone to fix the garage door, or hang the storm windows... "no job too small ! " .