Yes, Virginia, there are stupid questions: “You’re a Librarian…?”

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….so do you have the Dewey Decimal System memorized?

Yes. I did nothing else in library school except memorize categories of books that aren’t used in half the libraries on earth. It wasn’t at all a total and complete waste of my time especially when I could be having discussions about how social oppression is linked to the availability of access to information instead.

…did you take classes on shushing?

Yes. Due to my previous experience as a teacher I skipped Intro to Shushing and moved right into Advanced Shushing Techniques where we perfected terrifying children with a single pointed glare, and learned how to shush while simultaneously reciting the Dewey Decimal System (see above).

…do you get to just read all day?

Yes. They employ me to read. I spend 40 hours (or 16 right now, whatever) a week reading. The books on the shelves magically appear and are maintained by little library fairies. The people who sit at the reference desk are actually advanced robots in disguise. The programs you see advertised are run by ghosts and prepared by house elves. Nothing that happens in a library building is done by librarians. We just sit around and read.

…you have a Kindle? Aren’t you supposed to like real books?

*checks handbook* OMG YOU’RE RIGHT!! It states very clearly here in section 425.35c of the Librarian rulebook that e-books are not “real” books and therefore cannot be read by any librarian. I’ll have to run for it. If anyone asks, you’ve never met me.

…so are you like a regular librarian… or a sexy librarian?

Let me check. * consults  mysterious card * It looks like I still have 3 months of probation before I get promoted to sexy librarian.  And thank you for not asking me wildly inappropriate questions. Tell me, are you a regular accountant, or a sexy accountant?

…I read this book a while ago about a guy and it turned out he had a twin. It was really good. Have you read it?

Yes. Because I’ve actually read ALL THE BOOKS.

…you need a Master’s Degree for that?

Well, like many people, I didn’t know the alphabet in order, nor could I count until attending Library school. I also needed to take classes in Shushing (see above), Finger Wagging, and how to definitively tell which books are “good,” because we all know there are only two kinds of books “good” and “not good.” I didn’t spend any time talking about the impact of technology on our culture, non-profit management and organizational structure, or how to create and curate digital collections. I never used computers or had philosophical discussions. I just spent all my time reviewing the alphabet and learning to put my hair in a bun.

…but isn’t Google, like, replacing libraries?

Yes. Google can absolutely teach kids how to read and help teens do their homework and guide the elderly through using technology. It can put on free concerts and provide safe spaces and loan you any book you want for free. It can bridge the digital divide, help people file their taxes and give you unlimited access to the internet. It can make personal recommendations, develop a sense of community and provide a free meeting place for local organizations. It is never frustrating or limited in any way and always greets you with a smile.

…is it great to work in such a chill environment?

*looks from line of 4 patrons including 3 screaming infants– to group of toddlers throwing legos in play area– to homeless man talking to the wall– to elderly patron shooting me death stares– to computer with 19 tabs open– to To-Do list which is 3 miles long* Yeah. Chill environment. It’s awesome.

…do you know any good books I should read?

No.

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6 thoughts on “Yes, Virginia, there are stupid questions: “You’re a Librarian…?”

  1. I KNEW IT!! (oops, talking to a librarian, need to use my inside font… I KNEW IT!! 😉 ) No one believed me about the library fairies or the house elves, but I KNEW they were real!

    Also, I thought Advanced Shushing was restricted to students studying to be those guards inside the Sistine Chapel…? Or is that Advanced Shushing II?

    P.S. The last Q&A made me LOL the hardest 😀

    1. Advanced Shushing II will get you a job in the Reading Room at the University of Oxford, but the guards in the Sistine Chapel have to pass Expert Shushing IV. 😉

      The house elves are pretty fun, but the library fairies can get downright bitchy when people spill stuff on the books. Good thing I don’t have to worry about that!

      1. So many Shushing specializations; I had no idea! 🙂

        People spilling stuff on books is the best! One time, when I worked at my local library, we found a McDonald’s Coca-Cola cup in the book drop. Because it’s SO easy to mistake a giant metal square container that says BOOK DROP on it for a trash can.

  2. Love this. LOVE it. When I finished teaching and was starting library school, I was on a city bus and saw two young-ish teens using the bar along the inside of the bus (the one that’s supposed to be for people to hold onto when they have to stand for the whole ride) as a chin-up bar. By reflex I gave them my “teacher look.” They both dropped off the bar, sat down, and looked very, very guilty. I kind of felt bad because why should I care what they do on a bus? And I don’t, really. But old habits die hard.

    Also, since I don’t get to read at work, and I read even LESS now that I’m a librarian, I find myself coming home and reading ALL THE BOOKS because I just can’t help myself. 🙂

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