I mean, I’ve always thought librarians were pretty cool. They get to work with books all day and do fun stuff like story times with little kids, and honestly, what better way is there to spend your eight or so hours away from home?
Some people, though, still buy into the old school stereotypes of librarians being dowdy, old maids or whatever – but after you read through this list of 15 secrets lurking in your local library, you’ll never assume that again!
#15. A lot goes into the recommendations they give you.
With all of the books released every year, there’s no way every librarian could read them all. That said, they spend a lot of time researching on blogs and in trade publications, attending training sessions and webinars, and finding recommendations from other librarians to make themselves as widely-read as possible.
They do read a lot, with some librarians clocking in at over 1000 books a year.
#14. Stereotypes make their eyes roll.
One librarian particularly takes issue with the portrayal in Stranger Things, where the librarian is super mean and won’t let the boys check out any more books because they already had three out.
“She’s so nasty about it. Every single librarian I know would say, ‘I’ll make you a deal.’”
Good to know!
#13. Like everyone who works in customer service, their job comes with certain hazards.
Working with the public can be like walking a gauntlet some days, and librarians deal with verbal abuse, insults, and the occasional sexual misconduct. Libraries do have codes of conduct in place, so librarians should be able to eject anyone in violation. If you happen to fall on the wrong side of the code more than once you can also be suspended – but they don’t want that to happen, because libraries are there for everyone.
#12. They act as community counselors sometimes.
There are people in crisis who have nowhere to go and no money to pay someone to listen, and sometimes they end up at the library. They also provide resources for underprivileged kids, like free events and lunch programs.
#11. They don’t want your used donations.
If you’ve got old magazines or an Encyclopedia set to donate, save it for your next garage sale.
#10. All librarians have at least a Master’s degree.
That’s a lot of school! Your local librarian has at least a master’s degree in library science, library and information studies, or librarianship, and they know how to catalogue, organize, research, and manage the library, among other things.
Some librarians go on to earn their doctorate, a degree that can open doors in corporate research libraries or even the Library of Congress.
#9. They can help settle a bet.
The next time you and your pals are arguing over player stats down at the pub, you can call your local librarian and ask her to look up who’s right.
Seriously. They even like it.
#8. They wish you would stop using weird things as bookmarks.
Librarians find all kinds of strange things wedged between pages – from awesome finds like $100 bills to personal items like love letters, to less desirable placeholders like drugs or condoms. On the weirder side, they’ve found weapons, pickles, bacon (who would waste a strip of bacon like that?), and one time, a vial labeled “smallpox sample.”
#7. And while you’re at it, don’t stuff strange things in the book drop, either.
Who knows why, but people love to put things other than books in the book drop. Librarians report finding donuts (thanks?), fireworks, eggs, dead rabbits and fish, a live (and presumably angry) raccoon, and this kitten who quickly became an international celebrity.
#6. They’re not afraid to don a costume.
If it gets kids to sign up for a library card of their own, librarians will go out dressed up as Peppa Pig or the Cat in the Hat, or another favorite character. They may not have gone through all that school to play dress up, but if it helps them accomplish their career goals, they’re on board.
#5. They make more money than you think.
With a median annual income of $60,760, librarians make a full $1k over the average salary for all occupations nationwide. Not only that, but the demand for librarians, curators, and archivists is increasing rapidly, so it’s a good time to go back to school!
#4. Gendering books makes their eyes twitch.
There are no “boy” books and “girl” books…there are just books. One librarian lists this as one of her top pet peeves, saying “our books have no gender – I can recommend a good story about XYZ. Asking for books by gender perpetuates unnecessary gender stereotypes and also perpetuates the idea that boys don’t like to read books written by women or starring women, and it’s really not true.”
#3. They never talk to most of their patrons.
So, if you’re an introvert, this might be the career for you! With online catalogs, e-books, audiobooks, and self-serve checkout stations, many patrons treat the library as a DIY. Librarians are okay with it because first and foremost their duty is to support the reading and researching community however they require.
#2. But, if you’re weird, they’ve probably noticed.
And they might have given you a nickname. Check out the libraries subreddit for more stories and hilarious encounters than you could ever have time to read.
#1. They’re not afraid to hide the office supplies.
Like waitresses, librarians can be a little protective of their pens. Also of their tape, staplers, binder clips, and anything else that tends to grow legs when patrons need to borrow it for “just a sec.”