I stumbled upon an interesting article posted on Bookriot.com today. The writer, named Kelly Jensen, discusses what it’s like to be a librarian along with tips about how to become one. I couldn’t agree with the article more. As an employee at my local library, I’ll be the first one to say that yes, I work with books and yes, I get to recommend books to other people. However, contrary to popular belief and or, assumption, I do not get to just sit at a desk or on the library floor surrounded by piles of books, and read all day. There’s actually so much that I have the opportunity to do. I did not go to school for this, nor do I have a college degree for my position. Do I wish I did? Of course! However, college is expensive and I made it my decision to put that on the back burner for now, or when the time is financially right for me.
The first thing about working in a public library is that it’s just that. A public place. People from all walks of life have the opportunity to come in and use our computers and read/check out books. As a librarian, your first and most important job is to be patient. Second is to be courteous. Patrons for the most part are very nice and understanding of our policies, however some are not, but as employees we do our best to be understanding and informative when issues arise such as: late fees, technology, or simply locating a certain book or author. Sometimes patrons get angry, but we do our best to listen and offer alternative solutions to their problems.
I consider myself and introvert. And when I was first saw the opportunity to work at my local library last year, I admit I assumed I would just stand and check out books all day. Yes that’s part of it, but another part of the job is making signs for library events, displays for featured books, and ordering books that we don’t have in our county’s system from outside of the county for our patrons. The job isn’t easy. No job is, really. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Since I started working at the library, I’ve read more books this year alone than I have in the past three years put together. Part of that is due to being surrounded by books all day and being able to read some new releases before they’re catalogued, and also because in this job, I’ve formed connections with patrons and fellow employees who are just as voracious about reading as I am who also always have something new to recommend.
Libraries are important and so are the people who work in them. We’re not just a bunch of people sitting behind desks, scanning books. We’re so much more than that. We work hard to endure our patrons get warm customer service as well as a great literary experience when they come in. If you want to be a librarian, it’s great to love books and to read them, but it’s even better to understand that it’s not a job reserved for “old ladies who like to hush people”. I’ve actually never “shushed” anyone while I’ve been working there. There’s so much more to the job than people think and those things should be considered upon one’s decision to venture into the position.