Monthly Archives: April 2015

What they didn’t teach you in library school

It’s a very long, arduous journey towards full-time professional employment. In the course of your job search, you will have moments where you feel like a rock star, and moments where you feel almost complete self-loathing. This could go on for years.

The curriculum in library schools tends to be regionally-focused, and you will have to work twice as hard at making professional connections if you decide to move halfway across the country to start your working career.

Unless you’re in the minority of libraries with round-the-clock custodians, you are going to have to clean up after other people’s bodies. Unlike your high school job sweeping at an amusement park, you’re not going to receive ample training in properly disposing of biohazards.

You will be a part-time social worker.

Don’t like confrontation? Nobody likes confrontation. But you’re going to have to tell adults to get off the children’s computer, tell patrons they can’t borrow until they pay for the books they lost, ask teenagers to quiet down, and mediate disputes between two patrons who are both having bad days. You’ll have to explain to angry patrons why you have an item in your collection, why you don’t have an item, why you can’t ILL an item, why you don’t recycle, why you don’t have tax booklets, why your internet connection has suddenly gone down in flames, etc. If you climb high enough, you’re going to have to confront decisionmakers who want to cut your funding and your services. You are going to need courage and toughness that is the antithesis of the stereotypical mousy, socially inept librarian.

It’s a nice feeling when you unexpectedly run into a patron outside the library. It’s even more awesome when they identify you as “that nice librarian.”

Wet wipes. Wet wipes everywhere. More often than not, the staff bathroom will be fully stocked with baby wipes, though no infants are in the library’s employ. However, the library does employ lots of women over the age of 50, and I am terrified to think of the state of my body in 25 years.

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