Posted in Internship

Law Reference Internship, Week 14

Perhaps this is the lull before exams (for the law school they start in one week!), but the desk has been fairly quiet this week.  (No complaints here – I have plenty of my own work to keep me busy!)

Most of my traffic has been directional queries – where to locate certain resources, for example.  One patron called in looking for an electronic version of the U.S. Constitution with all amendments; I knew this had to be available for free, probably in several locations, so I went to archives.gov and found it quite easily.  I immediately saw what his problem had been, however.  Many of the resources contain only the Constitution, without the amendments, or only the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  The source at the National Archives held everything, but I did have to inform the patron how to get there and where to look for the amendments, as they were linked to separately from the Constitution itself.

I also feel it necessary to relay an embarrassing event from today.  A patron came in looking for a federal tax form.  He knew the form number, but said he had had difficulty finding it online, and was only finding instructions to it.  Honestly, I googled it, and the IRS website was the first hit.  I was directed first to the instructions (my patron’s frustration!), but the second hit on the list was to an IRS web page of frequently requested tax forms.  This specific form was not there, but I did find it in a list of all tax forms by searching for the specific form number.  All in all a success.  However, he now wanted it printed out.  I do not have printer access in the reference office, because the interns apparently never do, but I knew that the library had two public access stations with attached printers, so I took the patron out to use those.  In order to use them, public patrons have to give up their ID in exchange for the log-in information for the computer.  As I was trying to acquire this the circulation director intervened, informing me that the patron was not a member of the public, as I had assumed, but was in fact a professor at the law school!  (This is the disadvantage of working and interning at the law school while never having attended here!)  I apologized for my mistake, emailed the form to one of the other reference librarians, and she printed it out for the professor, who seemed pretty amused by the whole situation.  No permanent harm done to my ego, however; I regularly embarrass myself, so I’m used to it.  But:

Lesson learned this week: Don’t assume anything (especially that you know what type of patron you’re dealing with!)!

Author:

I am the Assistant Director for Public Services at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law. My research interests include exploring how emerging and existing technologies can be used to enhance library services and legal education as well as how to address knowledge gaps and meet the educational expectations of today's law students.

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