Monday, April 8, 2013

What NOT to Say to a Librarian

Anyone who has ever worked with the general public knows that every day on the job is different, mainly because different people with often wildly different personalities come to your workplace. This variety in patronage can be endlessly entertaining to you as an employee. But it can also be highly aggravating, as you're a captive audience to whatever brand of crazy they bring to you.

"Must be so nice to have a peaceful and quiet job!" Oh, really?
Image via

Librarians, especially those who work at large public libraries, often find themselves on the receiving end of all sorts of patron mutterings and musings. Much of it is idle chatter I'm sure, but some of it is utterly baffling or outright disrespectful. Whether or not the patrons actually intend it to be is up for question, but that does nothing to erase the awkwardness or the "ick" factor.

Miss Ingrid, a children's librarian who works at a public library in New York, asked her fellow librarians via Twitter for suggestions on what NOT to say to a librarian. Here are things that clueless (or simply uncouth) patrons have said to them:

* "Are you a volunteer?" (Odds are, they're not.)

* "It must be so nice to read all day!" (They're too busy to have a chance to.)

* "I hate to bother you!" (Librarians want you to approach them.)

* "Are you busy?" (Again, librarians are there to help you.)

* "Know what I miss? The card catalog." (Often said by hipsters and seniors.)

* "Are you married?" (Not cool to sexually harass someone.)

Ingrid's responses to these questions are so funny and so right on that you want to give her a high-five. And her blog post on this subject generated more than 100 responses, many of them from librarians commiserating with her and/or sharing their own stories. Whether you're a librarian, a library school student, or a library patron, you'll get something out of reading Ingrid's post. If you work in a library or want to, be sure to check out the blog post's comments section for helpful coping strategies for when you find yourself face-to-face with a patron who didn't follow the 3-second rule before speaking to the librarian.

No comments:

Post a Comment