So, here are more things they don't teach you in library school...in a US, reference librarian context:
- Some days, you will spend much of your time helping patrons with things like: email, printing, wifi, etc. It might feel a bit 'beneath' you, especially if you have a long to-do list of lesson planning, meetings, etc. Think of those questions as outreach...if you're friendly and approachable while you help a patron print, hopefully they will come back when they have a research question.
- And, speaking of that to-do list. You will have one. A long one, no doubt.
- And on that list will be meetings. Lots of meetings.
- Some patrons will not understand what you do. At all. They will ask you: to watch their stuff, proofread a paper, help them with their homework, etc. Just smile. And remind them what you can do for them: send them to the tutoring center, show them a book that answers their question, use a locker on campus, etc. Librarians connect people to information, even if it's not 'traditional' research information.
- Sometimes patrons just need encouragement or a listening ear. I can't tell you how many students ask for help finding articles or books and end up asking some variation: this is a good topic...right? Which I interpret as: Can I really do this big, scary assignment?
- There will be some questions that will cause you to have a moment of inner panic. [You want to find what?!] Take a deep breath. You'll be fine. And that will likely be the most interesting question you will answer all week.
- The best reference interactions end with: Thank you! This is exactly what I need! And you will feel like you just changed that patron's world.
Again, this is a very reference librarian focused list. But, hey, it's all true, right? :) Librarians do a lot of things besides shushing and reading...most of which you discover along the way.