Posted by smartenup on July 9, 2006
There’s been a lot of punk rock in the library over the last few days. Plan-it-X Records, a local music label, is hosting its annual Plan-it-X Festival – a.k.a. summer camp for DIY punk kids. It has been great fun, really. They’ve been all over the library — reading, using the computers, even hosting some of their programs in the library’s public meeting rooms. They have been super kids – really nice people and the energy of the library has been great.
Yesterday, things got interesting.
A girl approaches the desk and instead of asking for a computer pass (like her 600 predecessors), she places a white oblong pill scored with 812/BMI on it’s front. “I need to know what this is,” she says, “there’s a bunch of kids outside who took a bunch of these pills and they are totally screwed up and I need to know what it is.” Hmmm. “Okay, I can do that,” I say, “Sure, no problem.” Inside I’m thinking, “Can I do this? I mean I know it’s possible to identify pills will little information, but can I do this? It’s not exactly covered in Intro to Reference Sources and Services.” I go straight to the medical reference desk to find a pill identification resource guide, and I don’t see this particular pill. So I do a quick Google search for 832/BMI white pill identification — and I pull up a site that has this pill identified as Benztropine (or Cogentin, commercially). I then go back to the medical reference guides and look up the drug under this name to confirm. It was there. Whew. I identified the drug! Now comes the hard part…what does it do? I start reading the pill guide and it is speaking a medical language that is hard to follow. This publication is clearly written to help inform people or doctors who may prescribe or be prescribed this medication. It is not directed toward the messed up teenager on the street corner. I didn’t need to know what it is for — I needed to know what it does. I figure out that it is a drug prescribed for Parkinson’s Disease, that it affects the central nervous system and influences your ability to be in control of your motor skills. For Parkinson’s patients, this means it helps them to reduce their tremors. For punk kids, it means that their motor skills slow down – possibly to the point of paralysis. Their fingers may go numb, they may get nauseaus or drowsy, and they may even experience visual hallucinations. I explain all of this to the girl, who has been joined by a friend at the reference desk. “Yep, they say, that sounds about right.” Also, I note, it says that this medication should not be taken by people who are going to be exposed to a lot of sunlight or heat. These kids have been in a park all day in 90 degree Bloomington in July. I advised them to get these to a shady spot and get them hydrated, if they can. That’s all I can really do. I photocopied the drug information from the reference guide and gave it to her.
She thanked me profusely. She said that she was really glad that I was there and that I had helped her so much. Yesterday, I happened to be working with an older woman and an older man. These librarians are not really very old, in my opinion, and I know that they would most likely have been as welcoming and helpful as I tried to be, but they clearly appeared to be unapproachable to this young woman. I told her that I was happy to help and that I was glad she came in. I also implored her to come back if she needed anything.
This was great. I am so glad that this woman felt comfortable approaching the library desk with her (somewhat) sensitive information need. I was glad that I was able to give her some good information and offer her a positive experience of the library. It was totally punk rock.