Five Months of Being a Librarian

Yesterday I celebrated my graduation. I technically graduated way back in December of 2015, which feels like ages ago, but the ceremony was yesterday. Since I skipped my graduation for my Bachelor’s, I decided to attend this one.

It was mostly a bunch of nonsense. People are still spewing those same you-can-do-it speeches that we all know are bullshit. But I am still glad that I went. It was nice to see all my old classmates and to celebrate one last time one of the best decisions I ever made.

It took me awhile to decide to go back to school. I wasn’t anywhere close to paying off my student loans and the thought of adding on even more debt, made me want to puke. But I knew I wasn’t happy with my current job and needed a change. Books and libraries always fascinated me. Somehow I just knew it was a career I would love. So after doing some research, I took the plunge and went back to school. It was incredibly hard. There were a few times I genuinely did not think I would make it out alive. And I doubled my student loans, but it’s a decision I will never regret.

Going back to school and getting my Master’s in Library and Information Science led me to the best job I’ve ever had. I am one of those rare, lucky people who gets to say she loves her job.

It’s been nearly five months now that I’ve been a public librarian. It’s been a ton of fun and really interesting. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered about being a librarian in just the five short months I’ve been one.

Guys are super creepy about the whole librarian thing – Guys are really serious about this whole “sexy librarian” thing. Dudes, the comments when you find out what I do for a living are not necessary.

The patrons can be really creepy as well – Confidence low? Just become a female librarian and sit at the information desk. I’ve never been hit on more than I have while working as a librarian. Most of the times it’s sweet and someone just giving me a quick compliment, but sometimes it gets really uncomfortable. There is one patron that we all refer to as my stalker. (I could write a whole post just about him.)

I do not care that you haven’t been to a library in ten years and that you never read – When someone finds out what I do for a living, there are two things they tell me: how long it’s been since they’ve been to a library and the last time they read a book.

There are a lot of characters who come to the library – Dealing with the public in general can be an interesting experience but the characters who come to the library take the cake. Five months. It’s only been five months working at a public library and I can already write a book about the people I’ve dealt with. The crazies are inevitable. Free WiFi, free A/C, and no one will kick you out no matter how long you stay. Combine those three things and naturally you’ll have a lot of people flocking to the library.

But overall I love my patrons – I assume every public library has their regulars. The branch I work for is no different. But I have to say that my branch has some of the best regulars, even when you factor in those crazies I was just speaking about. I’ve already developed my favorites and will be so sad to leave some of these people behind if and when I move somewhere else.

The kids are the greatest – The adults can be fine and I genuinely enjoy helping them but nothing beats the kids. I love the kids at my library. They are adorable and so hilarious. And absolutely nothing makes me happier than when I see them getting excited about a book.

I do not spend all day reading and telling people to be quiet – People have this impression that working at a library is a peaceful job. They think I sit all day in silence, surrounded by books, and reading. I may spend all day surrounded by books but nothing else about that description is accurate. I’ve gotten less reading done since I started my job because there is always something I need to do. And you will never catch me telling a patron to be quiet. I encourage noise at my library.

People assume librarians have the answer to everything – The questions I get go far beyond the simple, “Do you have this book?” In fact, the majority of the questions I get have nothing to do with books. People want to know how to get an ID. How to find a job. The travel directions from point A to point B. Travel directions are a big one. One lady came in wanting me to plan her entire itinerary for when she travels to the Poconos.

I will never give up trying to find an answer to your question – But no matter how asinine a question is, I will do whatever I can to get you an answer. And even if I personally don’t know the answer, I will make sure I find someone else you can contact who should hopefully be able to get you an answer.

I use Google A LOT – Here’s a secret that no librarian would care to admit: We use Google and we use it a lot!

Teens are damn near impossible to please – My official title at work is Young Adult Senior Librarian. This means that I’m in charge of maintaining the YA books and also coming up with programs for the teenagers. I’m completely fine with the first part but the second part I’ve essentially given up on. Teenagers are not interested in attending programs at the library. Shocking, I know. Connecting with them in general is a challenge. I’ve finally gotten to the point where they take their headphones off when I talk to them. So baby steps.

It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had – A few weeks ago, a ballpark by the library was having a job fair. We had a ton of people coming to the library that day to use the computers so they can put together and print out their resumes. I spent the majority of the day making library cards for people and helping them figure out how to use the computer. Before the day was over, a few people came back into the library to personally thank the staff for our help and to let us know that they got a job at the fair. My first month of working, I was helping a mom and her 6-year-old daughter find books about kids from around the world. After some research and browsing, I found a book that the child wanted to take home. I went back to my desk and two minutes later the little girl came behind the desk to give me a hug because she was so excited about her book. As cheesy as this sounds, the thing I love most about being a librarian is that I really feel like I’m helping people. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

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20 comments

  1. This makes me smile. You definitely ARE helping people. I have mad respect for librarians. You’re so important to the community (especially poor neighborhoods), and I LOVE that you help people essentially help themselves…. but you should definitely share some stories about your crazy patrons lol.

  2. Serious librarian love over here. I feel like librarians were the only people who were nice to me (apart from my parents…) when I was a kid and a teen. The library was my refuge, the librarians the gatekeepers.
    I’m glad it all worked out, going back to school is really hard!
    Vanessa

    1. I’m so glad that you had a good experience with your library and librarians. I see so many kids that are here every single day after school. It really is their refuge and I want this place to feel like their second home when they’re here.

  3. Hahaha speaking of creepy guys… 😅😂 How odd; I never would have thought that was legit! But I actually loved reading this! I have a friend who is graduating soon and wants to be a librarian, so I’m going to send this to her. 🙂

  4. Aw! This makes my heart so happy! I’m so glad that you’re doing something that you love, and are making an impact in the lives of so many peeps! It’s one of the biggest reasons I fell in love with the library world. Keep doing your awesome thang, love! xoxo

  5. I am so glad you’re enjoying it! But yes, teens are difficult. I tried to teach a group of teenagers English one time, and I’m not sure they learned anything but eventually they didn’t hate me, so I think that’s an achievement.

    1. Them not hating you is a huge thing. Teens are moody and they aren’t ones to openly admitting liking and adult but if you treat them with respect and give them attention, I think they notice it.

  6. This makes me smile so much because I’m currently getting my MLS. I only have 5 classes left until I have my degree and I’m so excited to get started with this new career path! Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂

  7. I really enjoyed reading this post! I work at a public library now as a student assistant and everything you mentioned is so true!! I am interested in getting my MLS but sometimes I question spending the money. However, this post is making me think that it is going to be money well spent. 🙂

    1. The money was one of the main reasons I didn’t want to go back to school but eventually I convinced myself it was worth it. If it’s something that you really want to do and believe it will make you happy then I think it’s worth it.

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