What You Want To Say And What You Do Say

I think this post over at Not of General Interest will resonate with any academic librarian who has worked the reference desk, taught an instruction session or possibly even graded some research papers. “Bad Professor, Good Professor” reminds us that even though we may sometimes have bad thoughts or reactions to what our students write, say or do, as academic librarians and educators it’s important for us to remember we’re here to help our students learn and achieve academic success – even if it sometimes takes lots of willpower. My favorite is found in one of the several worthwhile comments:

Bad professor thinks: Dear lord, you sound like a gum-smacking 12-year-old talking on a cell phone on a city bus.
Good professor writes: Establishing a more serious academic tone in your writing would help support your argumentative authority.

I think you get the idea.

So let me add one of my own, from the librarian’s perspective:

Bad Librarian thinks: Good Lord. Where did you come up with that idea! You can’t seriously be thinking you can actually research that topic when your paper is due in a week.
Good Librarian says: That’s a good start. Let’s take a step back and see how we can refine that idea into something that you can start researching in some of our databases.

So, have you ever had – wait, that’s a silly way to put it – of course you’ve had them. What is your memorable “Bad Librarian, Good Librarian” moment?

2 thoughts on “What You Want To Say And What You Do Say

  1. Bad librarian: Yes, we have books on Shakespeare. No, “Shakespeare’s plays” doesn’t help much.

    Good librarian: Let me show you why you’ll probably want to narrow that search down some.

  2. Bad librarian: You want an English translation of a Shakespeare play? A TRANSLATION?!

    Good librarian: I know a really helpful reference book that has background on the plays. Or you might want to check out a video – the BBC Shakespeare series is usually good, and it can help you figure out what’s going on in a scene [you ignorant prat] ahem… sorry, got something in my throat.

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