Thursday, April 3, 2008

Angola? Isn't that a cat?

This was a precious one, and I can't let it go by. Libraries can be interesting places to observe human nature.

A woman came in Wednesday afternoon, about 40, nicely-enough dressed. She needed some research material for Angola during the Cold War.

An hour or so earlier a mother and her son had been at the Reference Desk asking the same question. I found three books that pertained to the topic; two were out. So I gave the youngster the call number of the third, and suggested he also look at a Kissinger biography.

So when the second mother asked about Angola during the Cold War, I told her all the books we had were out, as I had earlier helped the other young man. He had told me, I said to her, that he was working with three others in a team; was her son part of that team? She had no idea.

I suggested Reference books, and she agreed she could copy the relevant pages. I found a Cold War encyclopedia, and gave it to her. I also suggested she look at a Kissinger biography, or perhaps a Nixon biography, where she might find additional material. I said I remembered that Nixon and Kissinger dealt with Angola.

She said I remember the Cold War, but Angola? No. She added she had no idea where Angola is. I gently said West Africa, and left it at that.

So here she was, doing her son's research, and she had no idea where Angola is. Oy vay.

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