Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The happy life of teacher librarians: egg on face edition

So a Year 7 history class is running about the library in enthusiastic search of books with biographical information on a specific list of people: Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Joan of Arc, Beethoven, Genghis Khan.  Their goal is to find one encyclopedia article on their person, and two different books with information on him/her.

They find some interesting stuff.  Joan of Arc was BURNED to death, miss?  GROSS! Who'd a thunk?

They're very used to googling, of course, and googling, of course, is forgiving of natural language (Abraham Lincoln) in a way that library catalogues and book indexes (Lincoln, Abraham) are not.  We get in some useful learning - Abraham's in the L volume, the Napoleon we want is the first one, look for the subject heading not the keyword on the catalogue terminals, Beethoven's first name wasn't Beethoven, yes the call number has to be EXACTLY the same to find that book. It really does.  You know.  Stuff like that.

One little chap is hunting down Genghis Khan.  I still have the World Book research guide/index in my hand, and launch, for the umpteenth time (but with patience, because this is stuff they need to learn, and this kid needs some support, I've helped him before) into my first name/surname/how to find someone in an index spiel.  He listens.  What should we look under? Genghis, he ventures.  Is that his surname?  Dunno.  When we look you up in list, like your roll, are you under your first name or your surname? Joe, he says.  Is that your surname? No.  Well, on the roll lists, aren't you listed in the K's, since your surname starts with a K? Yeeessss.... All righty then.  Will we look under G for Genghis or K for Khan?  K! he says.

We look under K.

Khan, Genghis, says the World Book index.  See Genghis Khan.

That would be G.

We find the G volume and he goes off with the article.  Happy, I think.  Probably thinking I'm a tad odd, if he gives it any thought.

The happy life of teacher librarians.  Egg on face edition!!



Names changed to protect the innocent.  His name isn't Joe.  Mine is Ruth. And now this is a goof you, dear reader, will never make.

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