Dick asked for tales of excellence. Here’s one from my local public library. I was browsing the travel section, having already checked the catalog and determined that the library’s collection did contain some books about Prague. But I couldn’t find them on the shelf–guess I didn’t notice that, if I’d looked closely, the catalog would have told me they were checked out. A librarian walking by noticed my disgruntlement and stopped to ask if I needed help. I explained the situation and she asked when I was going to Prague. Not for a month, I said. OK, she said, I’ll order one for you.
Order one?? Spend money?? Not wait until the ones they already owned were returned? Not go the ILL route? Wow.
Not long after I received an email that my book was waiting, a brand new tourist book for Prague. Excellent!
Two lessons here, I think. One, I didn’t approach the librarian. She took the initiative to approach me. Two, she perceived an immediate information need and fulfilled it in an extraordinarily timely fashion. She didn’t ask permission; she just ordered the book. I may take it out multiple times simply to justify her pro-active attitude.