My list of all answers – The librarians version


I recently read a collection of short stories by Peter Goldsworthy called “The List of all Possible Answers”.  The title story about a couple dealing with their child’s continual questions was a funny little look at how one family dealt with the questioning age.  The list went as follows:

The List of All Possible Answers

1.  No

2.  Maybe

3.  Because that’s the way things are

4.  Ask me again tomorrow

5.  What do you think?

6.  Because I said so

7.  You’re too young to understand

8.  Look it up in the Britannica

9.  Ask Mummy when she’s in a better mood

10.  I don’t know

From:  The List of All Possible Answers
by Peter Goldsworthy, 1986

 It got me thinking about my work in the library providing answers to sometimes trivial and repetitive answers.  I’m sure there could be a library version of the list of all possible answers, and here’s my attempt:

The List of All Possible Answers

Library Edition

1. That item is in Cataloguing (on Order/in End Processing)

2.  All copies for that title are out

3. That item will be in tomorrow

4.  I’ve rung I.T. about it

5.  We’re fully booked

6.  You’ll need to deal with your fine (overdue/damaged items) before you’ll be able to borrow

7.  Have you checked the catalogue?

8.  Have you got any I.D.?

9. The library is not open yet (or “The Library is now closed”)

10.  That’s against library policy

I wouldn’t say this is a definitive list, we could expand this list out a little if time and experience prove that there are more answers. 

Have you got an answer for the list?



5 responses »

  1. It was on the next shelf (Couldn’t find their hold, on the holds shelf)

    30 (how many items can they borrow, which usually goes like this, “30” “Really? 30?” “Yes 30” OR “30” “13?” “No 30”)

    No, we don’t do faxing.

    It is possible we no longer have that book, regardless of whether you borrowed it 12 months ago or not.

    We’re working on it.

    No, you can’t borrow without your card.

    No, you can’t borrow it if it has a hold on it.

    No your fines are not tax-deductable (actually I’ve only been asked about that once, but it’s funny)

    Go out the doors, down the stairs in the foyer, turn left past the totem pole and they’re in the corridor leading toward the cafe.

    I’m sorry I don’t know what the password is for your email.

  2. Yes, I do have a list of my own. On a tea break at the moment, so don’t have time to put any thought into it. But I will have one for you. Sounds like fun!

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