performance confidence

I took a test this morning. For the first time in years. I was out of practice. And hadn’t studied. But it’s not like it matters when the questions are “Name a John Grisham novel.”

The test was to see if I’d be qualified as an Adult Reader’s Advisory/Reference Library Service Assistant, Level 3. (You know why I don’t use the word librarian? Because you don’t need a degree to be an LSA. There are like two dozen librarians in the whole system. This would not make me one of them.) It had three parts.

First part: Reader Advisory. This was filled with easy Multiple Choice questions like “Who wrote The Unbearable Lightness of Being?” and difficult questions like “If a reader likes Supermarket Romance Novelist X, what would you recommend?” For that one there was no “shank the patron” option, so I picked the name that sounded least like a writer I’d possibly respect. My weakest section, but mostly because my only exposure to a lot of the crap people come looking to read is putting it back on the shelves, and when I work my brain is shut down.

Second: Using the Public Online Catalogue. Much easier, though there were some tricks to it. Questions like “What is the first chronological listing for Ernest Hemingway?” and “How many pages in the standard edition of Angela’s Ashes?” were a snap, but I almost mucked up “How many video listings (DVD/VHS) are there starring Jerry Lewis?” The problem? I didn’t put it in quotes the first time, so it included Jerry Lee Lewis movies. I caught it when Great Balls of Fire showed up on the list.

Final: Using Reference Books. There’s a cart full of big ol’ indexes and encyclopedias and almanacs and a list of 21 facts we had to find. No problem at all. Bing bang boom. You want to know what Wednesday’s children are full of? I got you covered. (It’s woe.) The director of Hungary’s National News Agency? Well, I forget now, but it’s written on my test paper. What day of the week was August 15, 1944? Wednesday. (I may have the date wrong, but I know the answer was Wednesday.) I’m dusting off my hands after a job well done when I look back at the instructions. They wanted page references for each of those facts. And I swore and took out all the books again to make sure they didn’t think I just pulled all that info from my brain.

In all, it was pretty fun. And I get to do it again next week, but for Children/Young Adults.

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