Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Librarian, Busy as a

Look Ma, no plugI have realized during my sabbatical that I have learned so much since graduating with my library degree last May.

Because I have been away for so long, and many of you have been left to read my archives for months, I feel I owe new readers a recap of what it means to live life properly as a Well Dressed Librarian. Of course there are requirements. I have standards, I am not a common street librarian, and I'd rather my readers not be either.

"Wait" you say, "you are about to give away trade secrets?"

To which I reply "I've been doing it for years, why should today be any different?"

1.) A proper librarian never uses the public rest room. I'd also advise against using ANY bathroom while at work, but not all librarians have steel plated bladders. If you must use the rest room at work, you must only use it to powder your proverbial nose. All other activities are strictly prohibited.

2.) You must shatter stereotypes. No bun heads need apply. You must embrace technology like a lover, find communication with strangers oddly titillating, and have a will to provide information, much like a hooker treats her johns.

3.) You should be able to identify several brands of whiskey from the mere wisp of breath that emits from your patrons. While much of it will not be Jamesons, it could help you a)keep your distance b)understand the level of inebriation you are dealing with c)remind you to have a cocktail party.

4.) Being able to tie a Windsor not, and a bow tie are not things they teach you in Library School TM, yet you should be expected to perform such acts each morning before you leave your well appointed, and decidedly retro-styled a)town house b)condo c)house d)apartment.

5.) If you smoke, you should never smell like an ashtray. This may require keeping altoids in your manpurse, and a small bottle of cologne. This cologne will not have been purchased in a drug store. Of course many people frown on smokers, and you will be required to find an obscure place to enjoy one, maybe three cigarettes on your lunch. Do not associate with the public (read adoring fans) during these periods.

6.) Patrons should be referred to as fans. To achieve Well Dressed Librarian status you must be under the impression that you are a celebrity - which indeed you are - but many do not recognize this. This of course, should only be done while mingling with other librarians, and not directly with the adoring public. This term may also become particularly useful while writing memoirs.

7.)Using, and not abusing, charm. One mustn't rest on their laurels, but as Mama Rose says "ya either got it, or you've had it."

8) Attend conferences regularly. While not quite the same as "making an appearance", it does keep you in touch with the field at large, while making you a more polished person.

9.) Speaking of polish, you should own a shoe shine kit. Nobody likes to see dull boring old boring shoes. A bit of shine makes the world go round. If you insist on suede, you are not exempt. Brush it.

10.) No one believes attractive people are librarians. We must suffer through this. It makes us stronger. It is also amusing to mention in conversations that we have that indeed we are librarians. The looks on their faces makes it all worth while.

11.) No one believes that librarians need a Masters Degree. Why? Because they clearly are not librarians. Have they ever had a reference interview? We are amazingly adept at rooting out the wants and needs of the public.

12.) Holiday & Pet themed apparel are strictly forbidden. A tastefully framed photo of your pet on your desk is fine.

13.) Librarians are often the token librarian among friends. Oddly, unlike monkeys, we do not live or play in groups of others like us. Some do, but then again, some monkeys live alone. We are expected to win at games like Trivial pursuit, and generally be the first to send news stories as forwards to our friends. Much like a respected elder of a tribe, we are approached with requests for phone numbers, odd facts, and waivers of library fees.

14.) They do not teach you in library school that homeless people love the library. Being that we spend most of our days and nights in such facilities, we need to learn to play nicely with them. Affectionate pet names are not encouraged.

Having noted the above, you have a good idea of what you have gotten yourself into. This is not a blog for the faint of heart, or librarians who are not extroverted.

Now on to the answer to the question that is on the tip of each of your tongues - I needed a break.

I took up typing letters to various Great Aunts, indulged myself by shopping for deco aqua colored McCoy vases, and generally took a look at my life. I thought that blogging somehow detracted from my professional life, and made me less illustrious in the eyes of coworkers. I have since decided that was all bunk, and I should lay the path for more genteel up and comers.

I can not live letting people think we librarians sit and write book reviews, tell people where tax forms are, and sit behind a desk all day. Why further the myth? A field where a bulk of the most respected are verging on retirement requires the next wave to take hold of the reigns, and shy of screaming "TALLY HO!" and getting on with things, we must make a mark.

I must make a mark.

So with this, I am back.

Moral of this blog: How becoming of me.

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