I pulled this one from the 2011 archives (otherwise known as when Alice lived at blogger and had no readers sadface). . . just like in a real library!
This ain’t yo mama’s library. I’m pretty sure that’s a library’s slogan somewhere, possibly somewhere in the Bronx, though more likely in some nice suburban area that is attempting to be “hip”. So hip that they haven’t figured out that no one uses that word anymore. You see, the idea is that if libraries are to survive, we must appeal to everybody, because everybody is a stat – er, an important member of society. Plus, they technically pay us through their taxes. So it pays to please them.
If you are a public librarian, as I was for several years, this involves pleasing the public. The public consists of all those huddled masses causing the librarians to yearn to breathe free. Old people, young people, poor people, dumb people, stinky people, weird people, you see all kinds there. And you help them, even if they wear tin foil on their heads and insist the government has caused their open head injury. (Haha, yeah that wasn’t a joke). If you want to meet all sorts of new, interesting, and possibly dangerous people, work at the public library.
There are other libraries to choose from, of course. You could try to be a school librarian. Not bad, eh? Summers off, and all you have to do is read books to kids! Oh, and uh teach lessons to six or seven classes of kids from all grade levels and with various special needs. And do every bit of clerical work, because you have no staff. And listen to teachers tell you how good you have it. They have to be with CHILDREN all day long, for crying out loud, and they want vengeance. This often consists of assigning children projects on subjects like playa lakes, on which the library has exactly one book. On lakes. Period. My mother was a public school librarian for years. Her advice when queried is “Run. Run fast.”
At the moment, I am an academic librarian. You don’t get a lot of bums here. Most of the students know how to bathe. And usually they can find their way to the library without their teachers, at least after they’ve shown them once or twice where the building is, and that it, in fact, exists. They don’t, however, know how to get anywhere without being plugged into at least 3 electronic devices at one time. These cutting edge bionic children are our future. And our future doesn’t know where the reference desk is – that big desk with the giant sign labeled REFERENCE. Not that it matters, since they also don’t understand what reference is, or why one would need it. I mean, we got rid of books years ago, right?
Nope, sorry to dissapoint. Everything has not yet been converted to digital. By the time it is, we will certainly then be writing in midair with our fingers, and paying through the nose for it – perhaps literally through the nose. Until then, while we do have computers, databases, DVDs, and even a coffee shop in the library, we’ve got books too. Many students find they make great coasters.
But I’m being mean to the students. They aren’t all overly connected, out-to-lunch dunderheads. Occasionally you get the stray one that has somehow managed to get away from the pack, who really likes learning, and books, and hanging out in libraries. They’re kind of like those albino lions – protect them! Most are more like cows, wandering aimlessly, mooing here and there and walking into walls and signs labeled with where they need to go. Sure we could warn them, but they can’t hear with the I-Pods in their ears, and they can’t see while texting, so it wouldn’t do much good.
But this is where I am, and it works. Sadly, there are many who don’t see the need for libraries. These people often never used libraries, and it shows on their grade reports. Lucky for them, you don’t actually have to know anything to run for public office. Unluckily for us, these are the people making decisions on where to cut funds. “Heyyy, I know, how about that stuffy building with those – whatchamacallims – oh yeah, the sandwiches with the words inside. Books! And while we’re at it, let’s just knock down the whole durn university, with all them elitist snobs. Let them find a job doing real work, like misusing federal funds to buy new office furniture. That’ll show ’em.”
We have one shot. We must prove we are vital to the future. To all you future librarian hopefuls, I charge you with this mission. Update your resume, and make sure it includes food service.
Sandwiches with words inside. Great description…and yum. Thank you for reposting this.
I owe that one to a coworker friend of mine. When he said that I nearly fell over laughing.
Such a great post ! =) I thank it is so great that you are a librarian, when I applied for different degree programs, I was laughed out of the guidance office when I said that was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. =) Of course, I am romanticizing the idea of being surrounded by books all day long, as you point out it is so much more than that. =) Thanks for the laugh, the insight and the glimpse into your world. =)
Oh it is more than that, but you can’t forget – books. I’ve always said my working in a library is like an alcoholic working in a liquor store. It’s a little easier in a university library, because there’s a lot of dry educational stuff and not nearly as many People magazines and whatnot.
I would faint from sheer joy in the University library… being able to get my hands on all the back issues of publications… FUN ! =)
Our library has a cafe now, too. And a bound copy of my undergrad thesis. 🙂
Yeah mine is in there too. It’s this thick thing because it was a “creative” thesis – a book I wrote. But it’s not really that long – there’s a lot of dialog and you could only write on one side and . . . yeah it’s freaking huge, lol.
Ironically, I had my WEIRDEST patron interactions when I was working reference at the university library… soo many weirdos – too much time…
One can’t deny there are weirdos. We had one lady try to karate chop the campus cops when we told her she couldn’t bring her dog into the library. Chihuahuas aren’t generally considered service dogs.
You definitely see all types in public libraries, that’s for sure. I saw a guy in my suburban library wearing cargo shorts around the waist of which he had a holster-type belt containing several canisters of pepper stay. I have no idea what that was about, but needless to say I kept my distance.
I think I would too. We also had a guy with boots and spurs who would come in and use the computers. I wanted to check and see if he’d hitched his horse up outside.
Ha, spurs, that’s weirdly awesome.
I think I was one of those rare ones, I basically lived part-time in the library when I was at FSU — not because I had no life, but I’ve always loved books and being and English major and with history as a minor, there was always at least five papers I needed to be writing lol! 😀
Another English major here! Yes, I did live in the library too. Oh, a funny thing. This lady wanted to check out a journal and we told her she couldn’t. She said, “What am I supposed to do, read it here?” ZOMG, the idea! Hahaha.
Inconceivable! How could she possibly be expected to read it there…in a place full of comfy chairs and tables?!
It floored us too! Haha, we about died laughing after she left. She really was shocked at the very idea.
Books? Dafuq is a book? I need to go Google this nonsense.
Good luck. You know there are Google books too, but those were scanned in. They aren’t written by Google. FYI.
As I was a child I loved the library. The smell of book and this “special” silence there was just great. I miss it a little with all the e-readers and the online-stuff.
Yeah. I love it too. I think there will always be a place for a physical library. Sadly, not everyone agrees.
My best job ever was two years working in a university library IT dept, librarians are lovely people.
It was a golden age perhaps. In 1995 the WWW and CDs were helpful but people were well aware that the first two pages of internet search results did not encompass all of human knowledge on a subject.
I love and love libraries. I took my boy from birth to all the wonderful experiences our library offers. He would have discussions with librarians about various books since he could talk and his grades now reflect this early earning.
Reading to kids really does help. I’ve been reading to my kids since they were tiny, and often reading above their grade level, which one teacher told me really helped with vocabulary. I was also read to by my mother. My husband was not read to, and to this day he struggles with reading. He wishes he was read to when he was little now. It’s sad.
That’s so cool that your son talked to the librarians. My mother, a school librarian, had a kid tell her he wanted to own the Library of Congress and have her as his librarian! So sweet.
The other day, someone was telling me that her teenaged kids asked what it was like in her time when there was no Internet and no cable TV and no cellphones. They just couldn’t believe it, couldn’t imagine life during those times. I suppose they find the whole idea boring. And because these days, the mother herself often falls asleep playing games on her phone, they asked her, “But HOW were you able to sleep then????!!!!” LOL!!!!! Poor kids…