Miskatonic University Press

May I Borrow a Stapler?

libraries staplers

This article has one of the finest titles in the entire library and information studies literature: May I Borrow a Stapler? Is This All Students Ask at the Service Desk in a University Library?

It was published in Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP), a very interesting and sometimes curious journal. “The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for librarians and other information professionals to discover research that may contribute to decision making in professional practice. EBLIP publishes original research and commentary on the topic of evidence based library and information practice, as well as reviews of previously published research (evidence summaries) on a wide number of topics.” Some summaries I’ve read were surprisingly brisk and refreshing and did a fine job distilling earlier work.

This article is by Liv Inger Lamøy and Astrid Kilvik, both at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology University Library.

Objective: The objective of the study is to increase the knowledge about what questions students ask at the library desk and what the purpose is of their use of the desk. Our focus has been on the physical meetings with the students. The aim is to contribute to the discussion on the future development of the library service desk.

Betteridge’s law of headlines says that if a question is asked in a headline, the answer is “no.” Happily, it applies here.

Ready, aye, ready
Ready, aye, ready

However, I must point back almost six years to my post about the Triple Staple:

On Wednesday 10 February 2016, at about 3:45 pm, at the ref desk at Steacie, I hit a new record: three consecutive questions about refilling staplers. We have three staplers here and they all emptied within minutes of each other. Three questions, three different staplers. I call this the Triple Staple.