Ten Things They Didn’t Teach Us in Library School

Photo credit: Abby

Photo credit: Story Time Puppets by Abby

Most of the daily rhythm of working in a library is omitted from the “information science” curriculum:
1. There will be Poopers. People will poop in the library, in a corner, under a chair, or better, on the restroom floor. If you’re really lucky, they won’t smear it on the walls. You will never, ever figure out who it is, but it will happen regularly for a while, and then it will stop.
2. Children vomit. At story time. “OOOOOPs! Let’s walk over here [guiding 30 three year olds AWAY from the offal] to this side of the meeting room!  [Without missing a beat, singing], “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round…”
3. You will develop the immune system of a horse or you will find a different profession.  “I had to call in sick today,” [Deep hacking cough, glazed eyes, flushed cheeks] “I’ve got a fever [HAAAAAACHOOOOO!!!!] so I’m here to find a movie to watch, can you suggest one?”
4. You will learn to never wear nylons or tights at story time. Little boys with N.O.D. (Nylon Obsessive Disorder) will suck their thumbs and stroke your leg repetitively while you read “Where The Wild Things Are.” Even when the wild things “
roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth” and you stomp your feet fiercely and, like Max, proclaim, “BE STILL!” you will not dislodge them.
5. “Other duties as assigned,” will range from parking attendant to horse manure shoveler, to breaking up fist fights.
6. “Can you make the guy on computer #26 stop? He’s picking his nose and wiping the boogers under the table!”
7. People die in libraries. They look like they are sleeping.
8. You will have occasion to ask at least one man to put his penis back in his pants.
9. Assuming your immune system survived your first year, someday a burly young man will throw his arms around you. He will smell so strongly of cologne that you nearly pass out, “Remember me??? I used to come to your story times when I was little!” He need never know that your eyes are watering from allergies to his perfume.
10. The day you wear your filthy-muddy-stained-hole-in-the-ass-eight-year-old sweat pants to run a quick errand is the day that you will have to hide behind the pyramid of oranges  from the impeccably coiffed President of the Friends of the Library entering the store..

From writing prompt “Tips, Please” in Jena Schwartz’s writing group.


1 thought on “Ten Things They Didn’t Teach Us in Library School

  1. here are a few more:
    * Your patrons will always remember your name, even if you never managed to learn theirs.
    * The 4-year old who drove you craziest in storytime will make you proudest when he stops by the library to introduce his own child…especially when they ask you for “that book you used to read, with the roaring and the teeth.”
    * You are never really “off duty,” and really truly want to know what other people on the beach are reading so intently.
    * People who post memes on FB without checking snopes make you CRAZY.
    * You look forward to the story swapping at conferences, because you can top EVERYONE with the picture of the thing you found used as a bookmark.
    * Even if you “can’t” sing, you WILL sing.

    Liked by 1 person

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