Shhhhhh: 10 Things No One Ever Told Me About Being a Librarian

Hey hey. it’s me, your friendly-ish neighbourhood spiderman spiderwoman book-slinger librarian! Since I have no book to review this week (blame love and it’s unexpected annihilation of all brain cells not occupied with mooning, swooning, and pontooning (okay, I needed a rhyme, screw you, it’s the rule of 3, don’t blame me) (but we are renting a pontoon this weekend, that’s not even a lie), I thought I’d write something short, mostly because I want to be able to say I blogged every week this month. Huzzah for illusions of productivity!

So. Here is my list of 10 Things No One Ever Told Me About Being a Librarian, in no particular order:

1. The modern public library is all about being an inclusive, welcoming, public space. This means that you, a modern public librarian, will have to smile way more than you were prepared for.

2. A lot of people aren’t that nice. This sometimes includes your co-workers. When this fact becomes too overwhelming, nothing helps more than sticking your nose in book and huffing that sweet, sweet book smell.

3. A lot of people are surprisingly nice – and kids are the nicest. Dude, even if you don’t like kids, nothing makes you feel prouder to be a librarian than when you make a kid smile just by finding the book she wants.

4. You will sometimes go weeks without having to venture into the stacks, and this will never cease to amaze and sadden you. Being a librarian involves almost no shelving at all. Working at the reference desk and running programs are great, but sometimes, all you want is to be able to linger among the spines. Book spines, that is, you weirdo.

5. When you do have to step into the stacks, you will find yourself reciting the alphabet song to yourself under your breath. Especially when you have to re-shelve something. And you’ll have to restart the song for every single item. Without exception.

6. Cardigans. All the cardigans. You don’t buy them, you see. They find you, creeping into your closet and your bureau, calling their brothers and sisters to join them, until one morning, you open your closet before work and narrowly escape being crushed by a cascading avalanche of wool, cashmere, cotton-polyester, and, most surprisingly of all, mohair.

7. Nothing is more satisfying than shushing someone, and knowing that you have fulfilled the prophecy and reached your final evolutionary stage as a librarian.

8. Never. Enough. Crayons. #ChildrensLibrarianProblems

9. A very specific type of patron (and yes, you still call them patrons despite this absurd “client”/”customer” jargon-fuckery) will somehow misread your position, displayed clearly as Librarian on your name-tag, as cell-phone expert. Depending on how many cups of tea you’ve managed to have that day, you will either correct them or just sigh and do your best impression of an Apple ‘Genius’ (snort).

10. Your entire family will expect you to be their research bitch.

And one more *bonus* Thing No One Ever Told Me About Being a Librarian:

11. You will love every single day of your work life, once you finally manage to hustle your way into the impenetrable fortress of the public library union, and in doing so, will become one of those annoying types that post inspirational quotes in instagram and never shut up about bliss and shit. And you’ll secretly think often about that quote, usually attributed (incorrectly, as it turns out #ResearchBitch) to Confucius: “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” (Arthur Szathmary actually said this, fyi). Because it’s true. And hey, if you’re lucky, you might even fall in love at the library. But that’s another story.

Take care, teddy bears!

xoxo, R

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