A woman comes up to the desk this evening. She turned in a book and forgot to write down the author’s name, but wants to search for more books by that author. The book has already been checked in, so there’s no record of it on her account (we don’t keep a history, for privacy purposes). Here’s our conversation:

“Do you remember the title or any of the title words?”

“Um, no.”

“Can you tell me what the cover looks like?”

“Um, no. But it had a ‘new’ sticker on it.”

“Can you tell me what the book was about?”

“Um, not really. I guess it was a family story. The author wrote another book about dogs, but I don’t know the name of it.”

Well, I found the book (Life’s a Beach by Claire Cook, who also wrote Must Love Dogs). But before you give me credit for my librarian kung fu, I have to admit that there were only about 8 books with a “new” sticker waiting to be shelved, so it wasn’t too taxing. I wish I could tell you that questions like that are rare, but alas, they are far too common.