Keep an open mind about the real question

Sometimes we think we know what the question is before the patron even finishes talking. The woman with the greasy hands who asks about car books is obviously going to want a repair manual, right? The 12 year old who asks for a book on Wyoming is doing a school report, right? Maybe not. The woman may be writing a novel and needs to know what cars were popular in 1920, and the 12 year old may be taking a camping trip with his family.

Try not to jump to conclusions. Listen to the patron all the way through before deciding what the question is and how you plan to answer it.

Once you have worked with your patron and think you know what the real need is, there is one more step you need to do before beginning your actual search for information.

Verify that you and the patron are in agreement on what the question is. This important step can save you time searching for something the patron didn't really want in the first place.

You verify by restating the question and asking if you have the request correctly. For example:

Go to Patron Evaluation Form.

Back to Find out the patron's source.

Back to MORE Manual home page.

This page was updated November 24, 2003.