Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Got an embarrassing question? You may be better off asking a librarian than "anonymously" searching the web.
While it was once true that on the internet no one knew your were a dog, now they know what brand dog food you eat, when you got your last rabies shots, and that your name is Fido. And they want to keep that info, use it to sell you squeak toys, and sell it to others.
Even though a librarian may see your face or see your name and card number on an online ask-a-librarian form, libraries genuinely believe in confidentiality and non-judgmentalism as part of their professional goal of protecting the dignity of the patron.
You can be sure that you won't be followed for weeks by ads relating to this question on every web page you view. Your interest in this topic can't be known by your spouse, the church ladies, or a prospective employer three years hence. The librarian you talked to will be the only person on earth who knows, and will probably forget about you by the end of the day.