Saturday, July 9, 2011

dan de quill

A patron in his middle years asked for Dan De Quill. Nothing. Try a variety of spellings (DeQuill, De Quill, De Quille), but the result was always the same. I tell him this, and start my ILL spiel.

"I find that hard to believe, he's the foremost Western writer in America." He left, his muted disgust evident.

For the record: Dan DeQuille lived in the 19th century, dying in 1898. He published one book in his lifetime and appeared to have been famous for his journalism. WorldCat tells me that the libraries in these parts that shelve him are all academic in nature.

So I guess I find it hard to believe that he found it hard to believe that we didn't have any De Quille. I also find it hard to believe how often our collection inspires disbelief in the public.


Dances With Keyboards said...

Wait - wait... This reminds me that certain customers from the last library system I worked for would take one look at me (see picture) and assume that I knew and read every book by every African-American on the planet, living or dead. After all, there are only like five, right? This doesn't happen much where I work now, possibly because I've finally perfected my "Oh no she dih - ent" glare. (just kidding)

DeskSlave said...

Must be fun to be the spokesperson for 12.6% of the US population. I bet it came with a hefty pay bonus. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are also an expert on African and Caribbean writers as well, are you not? I have some questions about Ken Saro Wiwa and Chris Abani. At one library I worked at, we had exactly one Hispanic employee, so she got to represent the entire not-exactly-monolithic Hispanic population of our area. Even though she was born in the US and Spanish was her second language, the automatic assumption was that she would know exactly what Spanish-speakers who probably came from a different part of Mexico that her grandparents. (For no extra money.)

I guess the closest I guess is when people think I'd know something about golfing or money. (For the record, here is what I know about those things: golfing is a boring waste of an afternoon and money is scarce.)