Library Hack: Book a Librarian

Posted on January 7, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Kelsey Hudson

With the holidays wrapped up and the New Year just starting, we see a lot of people in the library needing a bit more assistance than usual. Between new devices they received for Christmas, and New Year’s Resolutions, a lot of people have extra questions at this time of year. We’re always happy to help where we can, but sometimes it’s just a bit too chaotic in the libraries to really get a problem solved on the spot. One way to guarantee at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with trained library staff though, is to consider scheduling a Book a Librarian appointment.

Library Hack: Book a Librarian by Kelsey Hudson | Spokane County Library District

Now when I tell people they can literally book a librarian, they usually get a funny look on their face. But then they ask why they would want to, and how someone goes about booking a human being. Well, aside from my stunning personality, there are any number of reasons to book time with a librarian (or other staff member). I’ve helped people with everything from eReader and tablets, to creating a resume, and even teaching someone the insider tricks to using our catalog and digital library. And those are really just the tip of the iceberg.

We’ll attempt to help you with just about anything (within reason). We won’t train your dog for you, but we can help you learn how to find dog training materials. We can’t make someone accept your friend request on Facebook, but we can teach you how to set up and use your account. And even though I know very little about business planning, we’ve got some staff who specialize in that area (and others) and can show you all the best resources (and how to use them) available through our libraries.

Booking an Appointment

Booking an appointment is pretty simple. You can either call any one of our ten libraries, or book an appointment yourself online. To book online, just click on the button below (it’s also on the home page).

Library Hack: Book a Librarian by Kelsey Hudson | Spokane County Library District

Whether you’re calling or requesting an appointment online, try and give a few details about the issue you’d like to address in your appointment. While we all wish we knew everything, sometimes we have to do a little research before an appointment, so this is the time to share some of the questions or issues you’ve been running into. The more information you can give ahead of time, the more prepared our staff can be to help when you arrive.

Once your request is in, we’ll contact you with your appointment time, usually within one or two business days. The person calling will also likely be the person you’ll be meeting with, so feel free to ask them specific questions about what you should bring or have ready for the appointment.

What to Bring

And speaking about what you should bring with you, that will depend a little on what the topic of your appointment is. If we’re assisting you with a tablet, eReader, laptop, or other device, you’ll want to bring the device to the appointment fully charged. Technology can be fickle and definitely doesn’t follow exactly as we would like, so you may also want to bring your power cord, USB cables, and adapters as well. This way we won’t have to stop the appointment if your power unexpectedly dies, or we have trouble downloading something.

Details are important, so make sure you have on hand the information you think you’ll need for what you’re working on. That may be information about past jobs, business contacts (phone numbers, addresses, job titles, etc.), specifics about the assignment you’re working on, or information about what you’ve tried in the past on this topic that has or hasn’t worked. And for a lot of appointments, you’ll also want to have your email address and password ready. Everything from setting up a Facebook account and downloading eBooks, to applying for jobs online, will require this information. If you’ve forgotten your logins, or don’t yet have an email address, you may want to consider scheduling an additional appointment to get this sorted out first.

At the Appointment

The appointment itself is kind of like a one-on-one tutoring session. We’ll spend about 30-45 minutes going through the issue or question you have and showing you some different resources and options available. Feel free to take notes about any steps we go over and ask questions when you have them. You may even want to write down a few questions ahead of time just so you don’t leave the appointment kicking yourself for forgetting something.

The other thing to know is that it is completely okay to ask us to repeat a step or slow down. The great thing about Book a Librarian appointments is that it’s like being in a class of one, so you’re our complete focus during this time. We’d rather you leave confident in what we’ve shown you than flustered or confused because we skipped something or went too fast.


Second Appointments—sometimes you just can’t get it all solved in one sitting. If you’ve done all you can for the moment, or the topic is just a bit more complicated, we may need to book a second appointment. Honestly after about 45 minutes, most people have absorbed about all the information they can in that sitting. Plus, this gives you time to go home and play around with what you’ve learned. You might come up with some questions you didn’t know you had, which will help with the second appointment.

You can let the person you’re meeting with know you’d like a second appointment, or contact us later like you did for the first. If you’re coming back for a second appointment on a similar topic though, let us know who helped you before. Even if they won’t be able to work with you the next time, it gives us a chance to get all the details and make sure that we don’t end up repeating the same things over and over.

So if you’ve finally reached the point where you’ve got to know what the eBook craze is all about, or how to format your new cover letter, give us a call. And if it’s something a little less standard than that, I’ll even let you in on a little secret—many library employees love a good mystery or stumper. So if you’ve been searching high and low to find some recommendations for your child’s reading assignments or Overdrive has been glitching and is nearly driving you to insanity, give us a call. If we can’t help you work it out, we will keep digging until we can.


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