or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Things You Don’t Learn in Library School

   February 27th, 2013

Outside Shoveling - Be Back SoonDuring a library meeting yesterday, someone used the phrase, "and that's not something I learned in library school," in reference to something they frequently do at the library - which reminded me that I had this in my to-blog folder.

I'm sure every librarian could easily make a list of similar tasks - something you have to deal with on a regular basis or a part of the job you take for granted now, but was never even hinted at during your LIS coursework.

The iLibrarian blog points to two such lists - one for Academic Librarians, and this list of things Public Librarians deal face, ready or not:

  1. Janitorial Work
  2. Mental Illness
  3. Public Health
  4. Activism
  5. Complaints
  6. Exorbitant Fines
  7. Sexual Situations
  8. Vandalism
  9. Parent/Child Discipline
  10. Violence

Be sure to click through and read the descriptions. It's definitely worth it for new librarians - experienced libraries will see some that are familiar, and should give thanks for those that aren't.

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4 Responses to “Things You Don’t Learn in Library School”

  1. Laura Says:

    You forgot one important one: stapler maintenance and repair!

  2. Mara Says:

    Another: security guard at closing time.

  3. Christina Says:

    Very timely. This is just what I was thinking the other day as I scraped a quart of gloppy pink liquid soap off of the sink counter in the men’s room, after a patron alerted me that the dispenser had been ripped off the wall and emptied. “Other duties as needed” is our mantra… Mostly I was just grateful it wasn’t the usual kinds of liquids we have to deal with in that room! 🙂

  4. Kieran Says:

    Man, aren’t these true? Copier and printer maintenance is another I would vote for. We recently had the Blackbelt Librarian Warren Graham come to our library and talk about patron safety and security. Such a great program.