Misplaced Your Misplacement

Patron: “Can you help me find a book? The catalog says it’s available, but it’s not where it’s supposed to be.”

Me: “Sure! First we’ll check and make sure we’re looking in the right ‘neighborhood’, since our books aren’t in strict Dewey order anymore; they’re arranged in neighborhoods and then by Dewey.”

Patron: “Yes, I know. This one is supposed to be in Sports & Recreation.”

Me: “Perfect! I’ll just look it up real quick to get the complete number.”

(I jot down the call number of the book he is looking for (he actually remembered the title!), and then we go to check the shelf in Sports & Recreation. Sure enough, the title he wants is not on the shelf where it is supposed to be. I scan the shelves above and below, and on either side, just in case it is a little out of order.)

Me: “Hmmm… I don’t see it anywhere. We can go check on the carts downstairs to see if it’s waiting to be shelved. We can also check to see when it last circulated. It might be missing.”

Patron: “Oh, it was just here the other day, because I was looking at it before.”

Me: “Oh, did you happen to put it on a cart to be re-shelved?”

Patron: “No, I put it on a different shelf so that no one else would take it.”

Me: *struggling to keep facial expression neutral* “Okay… well, where did you put it?”

(He leads me to another section entirely and points at the cookbooks. Sure enough, there was the book he wanted, tucked in among the vegan cookbooks.)

Me: “Here it is… right where you left it.”

Patron: “Well, that’s frustrating. How are we supposed to find books if they’re not where they’re supposed to be?”

-> Misplaced Your Misplacement

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