Although there are many sites with suggestions on what to read next, it can be tricky for patrons to locate a fondly remembered book when, alas, they don’t remember the author or the title. In this session, the patron can remember the cover of the book and some key plot points, and the reference librarian uses this, along with information gleaned in the reference interview, to find that book:
Patron: I'm looking for a book that I read about 4 or 5 years ago. I don't remember the title or the author, but I remember that there was a girl on the cover who had on like a simple, dark dress and dark, black hair. I also remember that she was about 16, she was living with her great aunt and uncle because her parents had died...I feel like in some sort of hiking accident. It was during the summer and she ended up getting a job at a bakery. I would greatly appreciate your help in finding this book. Thank you!
Librarian: Hello, I'm reading your question and will be with you in just a moment.
Librarian: Unfortunately we can't search by cover art or color, so let's focus on what you remember about the story.
Librarian: Did you get the book from your library? Was it a book for kids, teens or adults?
Patron: I got it from my school library, it was for teens. I'm pretty sure.
Librarian: Here is a likely description: When sixteen-year-old Martha Venable Sexton gets a summer job at a bakery, her whole life changes as she finds friends, discovers men, learns to balance individuality with "blending in," and comes to terms with her guardian aunt and uncle.
Librarian: The title is "M.V. Sexton speaking " and the author is Suzanne Newton
Patron: I think that's it!!!
Librarian: Good! Glad to help.
Librarian: Do you want to check if your public library has it, or are you going to look at school library now?
Patron: Thank you so much! I would like to check if my public library has it.
Librarian: I just checked and did not find it. It is published in 1981, so it might not have survived 33 years in a public library.
Librarian: If your school library doesn't still have it, look into Interlibrary Loan at your public library.
[Librarian sends link to ILL for patron’s public library']
Patron: Okay, thank you so much. I've been looking for this book for ages it feels like.
Librarian: You're very welcome.
Librarian: Bye! It's been a pleasure serving you. If you need further help, please feel free to login again. If you have provided a valid e-mail address, you will receive a transcript of this chat session in your e-mail. Please take a moment to complete the survey!
The patron commented, via the survey: “I had been looking for a book that I couldn't remember the title or author of. Needless to say, I wasn't having much luck finding the book. All I could remember was what the book was about, but just plugging that into search engines wasn't working. I found this and figured it was worth a shot and within a few questions, my book was found! I was elated. This is an amazing tool."
Congratulations to the librarian who, using reference interview techniques and the patron’s library’s readers’ advisory database, was able to locate the book (and sent the ILL form so the patron could read the book once more).
If you would like to nominate a session, send it Quality [click on the Send to Quality link in the complete session view in the Review Transcripts tab, or email either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com]. Thanks to all who have submitted a SOTW!