Sunday, May 28, 2017

Common Misconceptions about Librarians

I love being a librarian. It's fun. It's weird. You get to meet a huge range of people, and every day is different. There is so much variety in library work, and while I can only speak from the vantage point of someone in a public library (get this - there are librarians in a whole host of other job fields, too - medical libraries, historical societies, film and music libraries, corporate libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, etc.), I'd say that the work is never boring.

But there are common misconceptions about librarians that I get from people, library patrons and people-who-don't-realize-libraries-still-exist alike. Also, I'm sorry for the latter group of you, you're really missing out. So here I am to dispel your misconceptions.

Common Misconceptions About Librarians:

  • We all look like this
 Image result for old librarian shhh or this 
Image result for margot robbie librarian
I mean, it would be great to look like Margot Robbie (sans hair-falling-out), but in truth, we come in all shapes, sizes, ages, races, genders, sexualities, etc, and we're getting more diverse all the time. 
  • We get to read on the job. We might be around books all day, but that doesn't mean we get to spend the whole day reading. I think it's especially ironic when people tell me this while I'm in the middle of helping them find information or checking them out at the desk. It would be like telling a sales clerk at the store that you wished you could work there because you love shopping all day long. 
  • That we are all know-it-alls. We are find-it-alls and often know-a-lots, but really, we work at a library because we are great information seekers. Many of us have knowledge in a lot of different spheres, or a depth of knowledge in a few select areas of expertise. But it's foolish to think that we know everything or have read everything that sits on the shelves in our libraries. We are generally knowledge-lovers and life-long learners, but we understand that there is no possible way to ever know it all (though it might not stop us from trying).
  • We are all introverts who hate fun and noise. Please see above image of a shushing librarian. Again, we are a diverse crowd with a range of interests that is not one-size-fits-all. We are home brewers, soccer players, sports fans, gamblers, strong man competitors, and sky divers. We are kayakers, road trippers, club hoppers, beach lay-ers, and marathon-runners. Some of us are introverts, sure, who like quiet and solitude. There are also athletes, architects or entrepreneurs who like quiet alone time with books and cats. There are also those librarians who love noise and fun and socializing. It takes all sorts.
  • That technology has made us irrelevant. Nice try, but I've seen you Googlers at work, and it's not always pretty. With the increasing amount of information in the world, librarians help cut through the garbage to give you information that works, and teach you new technologies when they come out. And a self-checkout machine doesn't replace staff, it just lets staff use their time in a different way. We have more time to do library programs, help you find a new book to read, help you research your ancestors, or give your kid resources to do their project a day before it's due. 
  • And lastly, not all librarians are crazy cat ladies. I mean, sure, some are. Some are also allergic. Some are only mildly crazy. Some are crazy cat men. Some *gasp!* prefer dogs. 
  • HULU tv snl saturday night live hulu GIF

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Donation: Cooking in the Nude for Golf Lovers

Sometimes people donate books to the library that are for a very specific set of people. Thank you, Library Patron! 

My favorite is the Amazon description: 


"Combine your favorite game and your favorite partner with these sporty and suggestive romantic recipes. Dishes like "Tees Me" and "Bogey Kabobs" prove golf is more delicious with a twosome. If your partner on the course is also the object of your culinary conquest, you won't want to take a mulligan on this one!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Konmari Chronicles: A Month of Decluttering

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Image from

So January has been all about decluttering and appreciating how much I have, and I've been taking my tips from the Konmari Method. I'm focusing on decluttering for my first month-long (or more) resolution this year.
It started when I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which launched me into a realm of tidying that I hadn't thought myself capable of. If you don't already know about this NYT bestseller, then you're about to find out.

Kondo boasts a 100% success rate for her clients in Japan. What's different about the her style, dubbed "The Konmari Method," is that she focuses on the keeping of things that only "spark joy" rather than disposing of things that you don't need.  It puts a positive spin on the task of decluttering, and takes the headache out of the deciding process. There are no tables or charts to follow that tell you how long is too long to have something without using it, you just have to be honest with yourself and be willing to let stuff go that doesn't make you happy. And most of all, treat your stuff with respect. She sometimes loses people here, because she personifies objects to the point of weirding people out, ascribing feelings to socks, staplers, and what-not.  She talks to her things: thanks her jacket for doing the hard job of keeping her warm, greets her house when she walks in the door, and doesn't ball up her socks because it hurts their feelings.  So, she's a little funny that way. But if you can buy into the idea that some of the basic principles behind her method are genius, then you'll be in for a clutter-free treat.  

Things I came away with that really worked for me:
  1. Declutter by category, not by room.
  2. Don't worry about where to put everything until you've truly decluttered everything.
  3. Declutter in this general order: clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and do things that are dearest to you last.
  4. Do your categories in a big way, not just a little at a time. Kondo calls tidying up an event. Don't get rid of a few things every day - do it as a marathon and make it count. The big changes will spark the real change that you need.
When you declutter, do it this way:
  1. Gather everything from that one category, from all areas of the house and dump them on the floor. This desensitizes you to it. You're more apt to keep it if you declutter them from where they are on the shelf/closet, so this is essential. It's also essential that you do all things from one category at the same time so that you realize how much you have in that category. 
  2. Pick up each thing and decide whether it sparks joy. For clothes, some I knew right off the bat that they did or did not. Many I needed to try on. Keep what you love with confidence.
  3. Let things go if they: don't make you happy, don't feel right, aren't your style, are no longer useful, if you have too many of the same thing and don't use them all.
  4. If you have a hard time letting it go, thank it for its service and move it along to someone who will love it more. It may have helped teach you what wasn't your style, fit once but doesn't anymore, is too worn to be useful, or something you hate to part with because it was a gift or was expensive. Part with the things that make you feel guilty when you look at them, and let them move on so that you can too. 
  5. Declutter everything first and then decide where it's permanent home will be. You can't organize your stuff until everything is decluttered, otherwise you'll keep moving everything around. 
  6. You probably can't get a lot of money for most stuff. Get it out of the house as soon as you can afterward, and don't let anyone in your house de-rail you - if you think they will try to undermine your effort by pulling things back from the curb, do it when they are not around (so long as you aren't getting rid of their stuff!).
What I've accomplished thus far:
  • Clothes/accessories/shoes: This has by far been the best change for me. Everything now fits in my tiny closet and my armoire. Summer and winter wardrobes are all together, giving me the most out of all of my clothes whatever the season. I donated 3-4 garbage bags of clothes, accessories, and shoes, and it made me feel 10 times lighter. Getting dressed, doing laundry, putting things away, and making new outfit combinations -- these are all way easier and less stressful, and my stuff has so much ROOM to breathe. 
  • Books: I thought this would be harder, honestly. I'm a librarian! I should love keeping all these books! But then, I'm a librarian, and why keep so many books when the ones I'm really reading all come from the library? So now I've only kept books that I know that I love, would read again, or that just make me happy. I got rid of about 70% of my books. The books I have that I love actually stand out now, and I have room for funky decorations that always looked cluttered when I tried to put them out before.
  • Papers: So, my filing cabinet was the place of things-stored-and-never-looked-at-again. Receipts, old mail, coupons even got stuffed here and forgotten. So, I got rid of about 50% of that too. I'm no Marie Kondo, who says she prefers to keep no paper whatsoever, but I'm happy enough knowing that I only have things I need and I can now find them at the drop of a dime.  Oh, and now I have a desk top. On which I can work. Without moving piles of stuff around first. Woo!
  • Miscellany (Komono): Linens for beds we no longer have, 36 burned CDs, DVDs that I bought because they were only $2, a zillion wine-glasses from wineries we've visited, cords to I-don't-know-what-anymore, leftover blank wedding invitations I never used, pens that I hated to write with, lotions I've had for years and never use, cosmetics that have been around since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, tupperware without lids... The best thing about this category has been that it includes stuff I use every day and yet never bothered to get in order, so when I cleaned up all these little pockets of crap around my house, it made everything feel so much lighter! 
There is still a good bit left to do, but it doesn't feel overwhelming, it's actually kind of fun. Having no real deadline just makes it a hobby with amazing results. It is already so much easier to put my house back in order when it's messy, because everything has a spot. I can identify very quickly when something doesn't work for me, and I get rid of it automatically. Before, I would hem and haw and think I'd give it another chance. No more!

Last but not least, if you are going to read this book. Remember: this is a guideline, and written for people who probably live in very different houses and in different lifestyles than you might have.  And some of her advice is nutty. She got rid of her hammer and her screwdriver, replacing them with things that in my book are never a substitute. She uses her headphones instead of her speakers. She dries and puts away her shampoo in a cabinet after every shower. For me, that is TOO FAR. But for the most part, this woman is on point.  Besides, who else has an organizing book without pictures make it onto the bestseller list?

The other major part in this month-long de-clutterfest is that I didn't buy anything outside of groceries (and gifts...for others). Whenever I was de-cluttering and thought I needed something, I wrote it down, and decided to buy it later if the need still applied. Not buying anything gave me the chance to see what I could make do with and see how much I really have already. When I finally went shopping, I found that I really only needed a few things, and I had the perfect sense of what those things were (black cardigan for work, and a better belt!).

Now that we are gearing up to move, I'm happy that I won't go through the hassle of boxing up a bunch of junk that I didn't really need or want! Whew!  More to update once we actually move...