Sunday, September 26, 2004

Magic 8 Ball

I've always thought that the Reference Desk would be very well served by having a Magic 8 Ball. Calculate the cost of your reference items, your PC, the connection to the internet, and I think it becomes very obvious that the Magic 89 Ball is a phenomenal savings (about 11 bucks). Think of all the interesting books you can buy. No more Encyclopedia of Associations or Thomas Register of Products and Services (which are incredibly BORING). You can finally afford that subscription to the Journal of Irreproducible Results (is that still even being published?). With the Magic 8 Ball, when a patron comes up to your desk, just flip the ball over and read out the answer. My personal favorite is "Ask Again Later".


Magic 8 Ball
Click on the link, then click on the 8 ball, and get an idea of how it would work. Go ahead, ask it a question, and see how it turns out.

Some libraries may not want to rely on only one source for their reference work, and the Magic 8 Ball has its limitations when it comes to Reader's Advisory. For that reason, I would suggest that libraries invest in Fortune Cookies. Even with the additional cost of having the cookies made for the library, it is still not a budget buster. Have a series of fortunes made up. They can have a call number, the author and title of a best seller, or a genre. Really, let your imagination go wild. Have a bowl set up with a card that reads "Reader's Advisory". When a patron asks for a good book to read, refer them to the reader's advisory fortune cookie bowl. Snack and a book. In fact, this method has the further advantage of redirecting them out of their reading rut.

A Fortune Cookie Reader's Advisory Play in 1 Act

Patron: "I've read everything you have by Grisham, do you have any other books that are like that."

Librarian: "Hmmmm.... let's see what we've got... take a cookie from the bowl."

Patron: "What the hell?"

Librarian: "Just take a cookie."

Patron (sounding dubious): "OK... I guess...."

Patron takes a cookie, opens it up, and reads a fortune.

Patron: "Huh, it says 'Honda Accord automotive repair manual by John Haynes - 629.2872 HONDA'. I'm not sure...."

Librarian: "Well, evidently that is what your destiny is to be."

Patron: "If you say so."

Librarian peers over glases and raises eyebrow.

Don't get me started on Ouija boards.