Though the library perches atop the Breuer Building, our clerestory windows peaking out into Wade Oval, off the Art Detour unless you make a wrong turn, we manage to attract quite a few tourists. We gladly welcome all visitors to the library, if only to walk through for a few minutes, visit our magazine racks and sit on the sofas, or to browse the reference collection. The opportunity presents itself for the attending reference librarian to provide on the spot introductions to the reference collection daily.
Reference librarians talk to many people. My day is often predicated, punctuated even, by little conversations. By telephone, email, and in person, I answer questions. Often, those questions are directional. At some point someone will ask you where the restroom is, or why the elevator has delivered them to the library and not the galleries, or what painting is where. Naturally, we explain. In the process, reference librarians tend to internalize the answers to many basic questions about the museum.
For a reference librarian, a new encyclopedia is an exciting acquisition, a new source of information. Suddenly there's a new trusted ally in the fight against the unknown. Okay, really, it's just a book. But we spend a lot of time sitting at a desk surrounded by books.