Holidays on Reference

by Christine Anne George

Me dressed up as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Last year, I was a champ. At least according to the Washington Post’s blog, I was a champ. It was a bit gratifying (if not a little mortifying because I didn’t think the picture would get around) because some people didn’t believe me when I said that I would be dressed up as Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Halloween. When I say I’m going to be dressing up as a Supreme Court Justice, I am going to be dressing up as a Supreme Court Justice.

I had my reference shift and enjoyed passing out candy to the patrons who came in and did a double take when they realized that something was different at the reference desk. It was the third year running that I had been on reference for Halloween, and I had built up a bit of a reputation. As one student told me, “I stopped in because I knew you’d have candy.”

It’s not just for Halloween though. Strangely enough, the holidays that I think are fun (and that the library is open for) tend to fall on the days that I’m on reference. Please refer to the evidence below.

The reference desk is at the end of every rainbow.

April Fools

Yes, that is a repeat pot of gold.

You can imagine how gutted I was when someone pointed out that if I had emptied the Milk Dud boxes, I could have managed an actual April Fool’s prank (see below). In case you’re wondering, my current thoughts on April Fool’s Day revolve around a SCOTUS version of Elf on the Shelf (less about observing and more about creative hiding spots), but I have no concrete plan as of yet.

My holiday observances on reference are more than fun and games though. I view them as vital ways to build relationships with our patrons, and my efforts have an impact. Even a year later, students and faculty remember me as the librarian who was RBG. They’ll say hello when they see me in the building and sometimes stop me to ask a library-related question. Maybe now they look over to the reference desk when they walk into the library, just in case there’s some holiday that they’ve forgotten. There may not be candy, but I always give a smile and a wave.

For the fourth year running, I was on reference for Halloween. Since it was a Saturday, I gave myself a break and broke out my old standby witch costume. But next year, I’m going back to the bench. I’m thinking Sandra Day O’Connor….

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