I love swapping reference stories with librarians! I've had a few interesting reference encounters recently, so I thought I'd share.
Patron: What's the weather in Russia?
Me: What part of Russia?
Patron: Just Russia.
Me: Russia is even bigger than the United States. The weather in the U.S. is different depending on which part you are in.
Patron: Ok, what's a city in Russia?
Me: Any city?
Patron: Sure. What's the weather in Moscow?
Me: (Googled it.) High of 64, low of 52, partly cloudy.
What Year is My Car?
This one took place as I relieved another librarian from the desk at shift change. She'd been on the phone with him for some time, and explained as much as she knew to me and passed the phone over for me to continue with the patron. In a nutshell, the patron had bought a car and wanted to know what year it is. (My first thought: how do you buy a car and not know what year it is??)
Patron: I bought a car at this place for $10. I want to know what year it is.
Me: Wow, $10??
Patron: Yeah, it's a Porsche Boxter.
Me: WOW, TEN DOLLARS?? (Slightly louder than necessary)
Patron: Yeah. What year is it?
Me: I can find you a book about Porsche cars and you can match yours to the picture. Or you can type the car's VIN into a site like CarFax.com and it would tell you.
Patron: Ok. The VIN is "42"
Me: The VIN should be a much longer number.
Patron: (yells to someone in background) "Honey! Bring me that car from the dresser!"
Me: Oooohhhhh! Is it a model?
Patron: Yeah, a model.
Me: That explains the $10. Also, Porsche started making Boxters in 1997, but you might still want to look at a book to match yours to a picture.
Patron: Ok, thanks. Bye. (hangs up)
Me: (stares at phone in disbelief.)
I don't remember the exact dialogue of this transaction, but basically, a patron asked for a CD of Hungarian Rhapsodies. I wasn't finding much in our own catalog, and the classical music by Hungarian composers like Franz Liszt wasn't working for her. In talking, she finally told me that she wants to be able to make requests in restaurants that have those roaming musicians. "You know, 'gypsy music.'" We did find music cataloged under "gypsies - music" and she was satisfied.