Home > Cataloger, librarian > Ta da! Librarian!

Ta da! Librarian!

When people discover you are a Librarian, they often react with shock and awe. Then quickly assure you they too like to read.

Of late, I have been in a few new social situations. OK, the social situation is not new (I am, contrary to the cataloger stereotype, quite outgoing) but the people were new-to-me.

At a concert, I was dancing along to a mighty fine tune. A new friend turned to a stranger and pointed to me saying “She’s a librarian!” Both then looked at me with shock and awe.

At a wine tasting, I was asked what I did for a living. I stated librarian (quite proudly of course). The gentleman did a double take then said “Oh I love reading!”. We had quite a nice discussion about ebooks versus print. He even whipped out his library card to show me, stating “I always carry this with me”.

On a plane, the young lady sitting next to me asked what I did. I stated “Librarian”.  “Oh!” she exclaimed, “I love libraries!” She explained as a college student she really appreciates going to the library and all the resources available for everyone (said she in awe).

I love this. I love that family/friends often call me to settle bets over trivia questions (“Carol, what’s that plastic thingie on the end of the shoe lace called?” “That would be an aglet.”). I love that every day I get to help someone and in doing so, I get to learn something new or see a new point of view.

I became a librarian because I love learning. I love sharing knowledge. I saw Desk Set at an impressionable age and thought “that’s for me!”

Meeting new people and having their reaction of “WOW” to learning your profession helps me keep going when the struggle becomes burdensome. When I read the news stories of libraries closing, budgets being slashed to nothingness, and when I hear other disparaging remarks. We are a profession of service. We are a profession of organizers of knowledge. We are a profession of understated wonder. We will survive and we will evolve and we will carry on.

Here’s more that found joy & struggle in our profession: JoeyAnne’s What’s in a name and The Cataloguing Librarian’s Second career, and the great Life Stories of Librarians Oral History Project. What’s your story?

  1. Mary Ann Huslig
    March 23, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I get much the same reaction. My husband was also a Librarian, his early career was audio-visual, so we used to say to new friends, he handles the audio, she handles the print. Most people seem to think we have lots of time to read books, wish that were so, however, I do love answering those odd questions followed by my favorite phrase from a T-shirt long ago “Librarians don’t know everything, they just know where to find it!”

  2. Jillybeanlib
    March 23, 2011 at 10:23 am

    To be honest, I don’t usually get any reaction, admittedly I haven’t met many new people recently, but generally they just go “oh”, or “I know someone who also works in a library” (happens more than you’d think). Mind you I don’t usually say I’m a Librarian, I usually say I’m a Cataloguer in a Library.

    Glad to hear it’s not just me who’s been inspired by Desk Set, I watched it again recently and fell in love with the film again and still want to be Bunny (Katherine Hepburn) when I grow up.

  3. Tracey Lunt
    March 23, 2011 at 10:33 am

    This is really refreshing to read and I love my profession as I too love sharing info and knowledge. I do feel that when asked what I do for a living I give my job title and then have to back it up with the word “Librarian”! The stereotype is very amusing in this day and age when you think of the sometimes eclectic mix of tasks now encapsulated in our role. But it does make it the more interesting!

    Now get that tweed suit out of the cupboard and……. shhhhh!

  4. March 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    @Mary Ann – I love that, and it is true! We know how/where to find everything!
    @Jillybeanlib – Uh uh, I AM going to be Bunny! Or maybe Peg…
    @Tracey – It is also fun when others learn you are a librarian and then their voice lowers into a whisper, as if your librarian-ears are too sensitive for loud noises. I decided they are just giving due reverence to my profession.

  5. March 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I love that movie, “Desk Set.” I think it’s very cute that this is what inspired you.

  6. Deanna
    March 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    My favorite story was when a newspaper reporter called me one day and asked a non-news kind of question. I can’t remember what it was, but I asked why he wanted the trivial information I supplied. His voice became very sheepish as he admitted that he often called me for information to settle arguments and bets among the reporters, and that because of me, everyone thought he was a genius at finding information. Nice guy. I hope he found another librarian willing to help him when he moved on to a larger newspaper.

  1. March 31, 2011 at 11:42 pm
  2. May 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm

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