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. 
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1 comment:

  1. When you see how much is going on in libraries, it's unbelievable that people think libraries and print books are obsolete. Librarians have been a great help to me, and they really want to help you find what you need. Librarians rock!