I really need to do more trivia contests. The joy I get from peoples' answers is enormous, especially when they learn something they didn't know before. Today's final July trivia question is "For whom is the month of July named??" This morning, one of my clerks jokingly (hopefully) told me: "I'm going to guess- Mr. July!" Her answer made me laugh, and then made me think of firemen calendars, which is never a bad thing. ;-)
People are really responsive to small incentives like bookmarks. Later today, I had a group of four patrons come to the office and all four told me their answer simultaneously: "Julius Caesar!" I smiled and told them they all had the correct answer and as I was turning to get the bookmark prize list I heard one of them say "Yeah! We be lookin' stuff UP!" That made my heart smile.
When Minion #2 and I went to do deliveries across the way, we brought the bookmarks with us to make good on our survey prize receipts, and we decided that we would bring the trivia contest with us, since the male patrons never get to play because they don't have the reference shelf. Today, we met a new patron who had just arrived and really wanted one of our sports car bookmarks. Since he just got there, he didn't have a chance to take the survey so we offered him the trivia question. When he heard the question, the smile on his face faltered, and he said, "Oh. I didn't do too well in history." Another male patron history buff happened to be standing there and he tried to help him out with hints, but the younger guy still had no clue. Then, Minion #2 gave him a brilliant hint- "There is a salad named after him."
"CAESAR!" the patron triumphantly declared, to which I replied, "Yes, but which one?"
"Uh, the Fifth?" he guessed. That made everyone laugh, and then I prompted him "Think about what name the month sounds like."
"Oh! Julius Casear!" And he won his bookmark.
This interaction, in addition to being a heartwarming story, is also a good reminder that we model the behavior we want to see in our patrons every day. Yes, we had to give him some major hints in order to get the correct answer, but Minion #2 and I showed him that, while we are not going to automatically give him the answer because he wants something, we do care about his success and we will give him all the tools he needs to come up with the correct answer himself. So, future prison librarians, every time you are interacting with a patron just remember, it might be easier to just give someone the answer they are looking for, but you will be doing them a greater service if you help them come to the answer themselves.
Until next time!