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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reference Question of the Day!

I've looked up some strange things at the Reference Desk.  You just never know what is going to pop out of a patron's mouth.  Here's one that was passed down to me at a patron's request via our library director:

Backstory:  There are patrons- every library has at least one who, honestly, are either A. hypocondriacs B. want someone at the library to do all of their work/research/physical movement for them or C. just loooove being a pain in the ass.  This particular patron has a long standing history of petty library complaints that she likes to blame on the library staff or the fact that she has [insert disease/affliction here].

The patron calls our director (who is "an angel!  And I have so few angels in my life!") and asks if the cases for our audiobooks contain vinyl or polyethylene glycol.  Because polyethylene glycol makes her "short of breath."  So, being the person in charge of the audiobook collection, our director asks me to see if I can find out anything.  I am thinking that I am going to get a big, fat "What on earth?  Uh, there's plastic in our cases.  Yeah.  Plastic."- type response.

So I call our representative at Books On Tape (a Random House company).  He does a bit of digging and calls me back a few hours later to tell me that they switched manufacturing companies a few years ago in an effort to be more Earth friendly.  The cases are made of polypropylene (recyclable no. 5) and other recycled materials. Super duper.

I then call the office for Midwest Tapes.  My representative wasn't in so the secretary tried to page his boss. No dice.  She tells me she'll try to get back to me and sure enough, there is a voicemail waiting for me the next day.  Same thing- polypropylene.  Not only that, the secretary called me back again just to double check that I'd gotten her message.

And so, dear library patron, your can breathe easy with as much breath as you like.  Your library's audiobooks are safe.  And you, dear blog reader, learned something new today.  Probably not something you wanted to know or would ever think of wanting to know, but still.  Knowledge is power and all that.

What I was sure would be a brush-off by these two vendors actually turned out to be a very positive customer service experience.  Props to both Books On Tape and Midwest Tapes!

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