[Virtual_reference] FW: possible prank patron

Tobias, Christine tobiasc at mail.lib.msu.edu
Thu Apr 12 14:10:30 EDT 2012

Hi Kelli - 

Yes, I believe this patron is the same "pinching cheeks" patron. Basically handle this patron just as Judy has described in her previous message (Thanks, Judy!). MSU also has an alert on our Policy Page about this problem patron. 

I sent a message to the RHN group on 3/27 about how to handle this patron. In case you (or others) did not see that message, I've copied and pasted it below for your convenience and am sending to the VR list again.

Message from 3/27 to RHN group (VR listserv): 
"I've noticed that we have been getting a lot of chat questions about "how to stop people from screaming." The email address used is often a Yahoo address and the patron claims they need to know this information for a book they are writing. Quite often, there is little or no response from the patron beyond the initial question. Since the IP addresses of these questions are coming from Denver, Colorado, I'm certain this is a reincarnation of the "pinching cheeks," "duct tape," "hand covering mouth" patron from a few months ago.

If you see such a question come into the queue when you are monitoring the service, please pick up the question (so our answering percentage isn't negatively affected), but refrain from spending a lot of time with the patron. Since the service is very busy this time of year, it will be sufficient for you to let this patron know that we have already answered the question and then politely end the session. "

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Christine Tobias
Reference and Technology Librarian
Liaison to James Madison College
Michigan State University Libraries
100 Library
East Lansing, MI 48824-1048
tobiasc at msu.edu
Twitter: @ctobias27

-----Original Message-----
From: virtual_reference-bounces at mlcnet.org [mailto:virtual_reference-bounces at mlcnet.org] On Behalf Of Matthews, Judy
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 1:18 PM
To: Kelli Herm; Virtual reference (Virtual_reference at mail.mlcnet.org)
Subject: Re: [Virtual_reference] possible prank patron

Yes, I have seen this one multiple times in the last 2 months, and last time, when I received it, sent them the "We have already replied to this question and don't contact us again" scripted message.  Ignore it.

From: virtual_reference-bounces at mlcnet.org [virtual_reference-bounces at mlcnet.org] on behalf of Kelli Herm [hermk at lcc.edu]
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:57 PM
To: Virtual reference (Virtual_reference at mail.mlcnet.org)
Subject: [Virtual_reference] possible prank patron


I'm not sure if this is any relation to the "pinching cheeks" patron but my colleague Suzanne and I just took 2 questions (both from different patrons) from the University of Hawaii asking for information on "how to keep someone from screaming". The patron said it is for an English writing class and he/she is writing a story about a detective who gets kidnapped by kidnappers. The patron's email address did not look real to me, and I did ask the patron if this was a legitimate research question and he/she said that it was. I didn't get much response from the patron the entire time besides "ok", and finally referred him/her to their own library. I probably spent more time on this question than I should have.  Hard to say if this is a real question, but just a "heads up" in case this person returns...


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