Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian

Library page is the lowest place you can be on the library totem pole.  Besides putting books back on the shelf, the library page is responsible for doing the jobs that nobody else feels like doing, which include, but are not limited to, cleaning up vomit, washing the windows, scraping gum off the tables, moving furniture, and keeping a watchful eye out for male patrons who are jacking off on the computer.  Being a library page also means you are stupid until proven otherwise.

For the past three years, I have been a library page.  About a year ago, one of my fellow pages was shelving in the biography section and came across this book about a page who becomes a full-fledged librarian after getting his MLIS.  Naturally, we passed it around the entire page staff for those who were interested to read it.

It is full of amusing anecdotes about daily library life, from story time, to the odd happenings with patrons, to the ways we librarians have fun when there’s no one around.  What makes this particularly funny to me is that I can relate to the stories S. Douglas tells.  His footnotes and the Acknowledgements page are pretty hilarious as well.

One of the best parts of the book is that each chapter has a “commercial break” in the middle of it, which usually has some random facts, not necessarily pertaining to the library at all.  Among one of my favorite commercial breaks was “Corny library pick up lines, and how librarians effectively shoot them down.”  I have two favorites:

  1. You must have been burning books, because you’re looking hot.  My apologies.  The new “Harry Potter” is coming out and I was in the back burning the Newberry winners to make room for it.
  2. Can you settle a bet? My friend says librarians have no life but I say they’re wild beasts.  Can I take you out to dinner and prove my friend wrong?  Tell your friend he’s right.
If you’re a library page (or work in a library in any way, shape, or form), and you’re looking for an amusing read, you should pick up this book!

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