Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Greetings, Season's

During the holidays, librarians should take precautions to avoid offending their patrons and coworkers with politically incorrect season's greetings.  It is best to avoid anything that could be considered even remotely religious ("Merry Christmas!"  "Happy Hanukkah!) and any politically-charged, potentially inflammatory generic substitutes ("Happy holiday!" "Season's greetings!").  The safest bet is to hide under the reference desk and avoid human contact until January.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Signs, Making readable

When creating signs for their patrons, librarians should be mindful to avoid library jargon.  You can also make a more deliberate attempt to speak your patrons' language by intentionally inserting grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, and unnecessary punctuation on your BROKE printers, out of order ELEVATOR'S, and KEEP AT "REF DESK" scissors. 

Ask the readers: What poorly written signs are hanging in your library?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sweaters, Holiday

A good librarian should have enough appliqued holiday sweaters so that he or she can wear a different one each day from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  If you wear the same Rudolph sweater over and over, you may inadvertently subject your library coworkers to the condition known as festive fleece fatigue.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pens, Chewing on

If your fellow librarians chew on all the pens and pencils at the library's reference desk, it may be necessary for you to intervene.  The pencil is a gateway drug that can lead to the more costly chewing of keyboards, staplers, and chair cushions.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks, Giving

Librarians should spend their Thanksgiving holidays reflecting on how lucky they are that they graduated and no longer have to complete ridiculous class assignments like those that they encounter daily at the reference desk.

Ask the Readers: What are you thankful for, librarians?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

World, Saving the

Some day a college freshman will write a three-page composition paper in which he or she will finally solve the global warming problem. When this day comes, you -- the librarian -- can hold your head high knowing that you helped him or her find the two sources they were forced to cite in their groundbreaking work.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Observation, The power of

Librarians should assess their own teaching effectiveness by following students into the stacks and watching them search.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tip jars, Setting out

It is perfectly acceptable for librarians to put out a tip jar at the library reference desk. The daily proceeds can be used to buy one cup of coffee to be shared amongst all of your staff as recognition for a job well done.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gamy, Smelling

Celebrate the American Library Association's National Gaming Day by spending an entire day playing Minesweeper, Solitaire, or Call of Duty: Black Ops on your office computer.  If your library doesn't endorse the rather obvious arcade-library connection, you can always celebrate by playing mind games with your colleagues and patrons instead.

Ask the Readers: How will you celebrate National Gaming Day @ your library?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Scavengers, Feeding

Upon encountering a swarm of scavenger hunting students at the reference desk, it is entirely appropriate for a librarian to hand each of them a copy of the assignment containing all the answers. The time saved by employing this shortcut can be spent discussing your mutual disgust of the assignment and the instructor who assigned it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Conferences, Reporting on

Upon returning from a professional library conference, your post-conference report should include at least two things you learned from the experience. For example: 1) Never admit to a room of 450 people that you like the smell of Taco Bell's food. 2) Old people seem to have a lock on the lifetime achievement awards.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nominating, Self-

Librarians should never nominate themselves for an award or prize even if self-nominations are encouraged. Such egotistical gestures are undignified, vain, and narcissistic. Instead, delegate this task to one of your subordinates.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Closer, Being a good

After the final "We're closing!" announcement is made over the intercom, librarians may dispense of all niceties, break out the riot gear, and forcibly remove patrons from their Farmville games on the library's public computers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Coffee, Making

Never complain that your library's secretary makes terrible coffee. Instead, fire the secretary and hire a barista.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Introductions, Making

An instruction librarian should walk around the classroom and greet each student individually with a handshake and personal introduction before he or she begins teaching.  This personal touch will make you seem charming to the students, and it will also help fill 30-45 minutes of your lecture time.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Books, Bland

If your library's Banned Books Week display is too racy for your patrons, consider adding a complementary display of Bland Books.

Ask the readers: What would be in your Bland Books display case?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banned Books, Justifiably

As librarians celebrate intellectual freedom during Banned Books Week, it is important that they also celebrate their right to boldly and unapologetically ban terrible books from their library's shelves.  (Yes, I am talking about you, Harlequin Romance's Stories Set in the World of Nascar.)

Ask the readers: What books do you think should be banned from your library?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Books, Displaying

Never trust a student worker to put together a library display of banned books.  If you do, you'll likely end up with a display of biographies about Lady Gaga and other band books.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned books, Showcasing

Librarians should celebrate Banned Books Week by showcasing all the really nasty, perverted sex books they buy for their libraries. You know, the raunchy, titillating ones.  With the photographs.

Ask the readers: What is the nastiest book in your library?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Punctuation, Using

Librarians should celebrate National Punctuation Day by giving all of their punctuation marks the day off

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Survive, How to

The best way to make the case that your library is underfunded, understaffed, and overworked is to spend a lot of money, staff, and time producing a YouTube video that explains how busy you are.  If you are successful, maybe your video will result in funding for a key grip librarian.  Or an editor.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Busy, Staying

Win sympathy from your library coworkers by telling them that you are too busy to keep up your blog.  This works best when it is communicated via your Facebook status updates.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Patrons, Photographing

Librarians who invite their patrons to participate in the American Library Association's "Show Us Your Library Card!" photo campaign should be aware that patrons who expect to be photographed and featured on the Internet may show up at your library nude or costumed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Voice, Mailing your

A polite librarian should help library colleagues keep their overburdened inboxes clean by opting for long, rambling, hyper-detailed voice mail messages in lieu of email.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Books, Burning

Librarians should vehemently oppose book burnings... unless the books are Reader's Digest Condensed Books that have been donated as gifts for your library.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bliss, Avoidance is

It is perfectly acceptable to take long, circuitous routes from point A to point B in your library so that you can pretend you didn't see the entire contents of the children's section dumped in the floor.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Affection, Public displays of

If you happen upon a couple engaged in sexual activity in the library, always allow them a few minutes to 'finish up' before escorting them from the premises.  This will also allow you, the librarian, some time to quickly assemble some suggested readings, including a collection of love poetry, the Kama Sutra, and an illustrated color atlas of sexually transmitted diseases.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ratios, Librarian to student

A librarian should never teach a class of twenty-five students to do research.  It is much more rewarding to teach them individually, one hour each, twenty-five separate times at the reference desk.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Calls, Returning

If a patron calls five minutes after the library closes and leaves a long, rambling, desperate voicemail message on your reference desk phone, it is perfectly acceptable to wake the patron with a return call five minutes before the library opens at 7:00 AM.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Teams, Building

Librarians should routinely participate in team-building games with their library colleagues to increase morale around the workplace.  Some suggestions:
  • Play "Pin the Security Tape on the Hateful Patron"
  • Give one another "Date Due"-stamp tattoos
  • Do "trust falls" from the Circulation Desk
  • Host a book truck demolition derby
  • Play Dodge-Book (i.e., throwing books at one another)
Ask the Readers: What are your suggestions for library-themed team building games?

Monday, August 23, 2010

'Em, Smoke 'em if you got

If a patron complains about being charged a replacement fee when returning a book that reeks of cigarette smoke, kindly remind them that they can keep the book and use its pages for rolling papers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Age, Acting your

A librarian should not look at student workers or library pages lustfully.  They do not mean it as a compliment when they call you "the cougar librarian."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Better, Feeling

Upon returning from sick leave, polite librarians should always share graphic descriptions of their ailments with their library coworkers. Always assume that a simple, "How are you feeling?" is actually a request to hear about the consistency of your vomit, see your surgical scars, and/or feel the texture of your rash.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nights and weekends, Working

The next time you get down on librarianship and start thinking, "I went to graduate school so that I could get a job that requires me to work nights and weekends?!" just remember that you could be working in a fast food joint.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Procrastination (Now!), Stopping

A good librarian will always be on the lookout for his or her colleagues who are prone to procrastination.  Be vigilant as you patrol for the following behaviors @ your library:
  • Uncharacteristic desk cleaning / filing
  • Sharpening golf pencils for the reference desk
  • Repeatedly retyping and laminating one's "To do" list
  • Making voodoo dolls out of paperclips
  • Policing other people's procrastination
Ask the readers: How do your library colleagues procrastinate at work?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Blame, Generalizing

The best way to correct a fellow coworker's breach of library protocol is to send an email to everyone at your workplace reminding them of the policy that one person violated.  Humiliation is best served passive aggressively. And via mass email.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Shoes, Wearing sensible

A good librarian should always wear sensible shoes.  Be aware though, that sometimes the most sensible choice is a pair of six-inch spiked heels that can be wielded as weapons against obnoxious library patrons or coworkers.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Conversation, Making

Librarians should limit themselves to one "cat story" per day to avoid the risk of becoming a bore around the library workplace.  Also, once you are home, limit yourself to one "library story" per day to avoid becoming a bore to your cat.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Grooming, Personal

The reference desk is a great place to catch up on your personal grooming.  If you need to trim your nails, style your hair, apply cosmetics, or pick the remains of lunch from your teeth, wait until you are working at the reference desk.  Please reserve more intimate forms of grooming (like shaving, waxing, plucking, and flossing) for your office or cubicle.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tact, Having

As a polite librarian, it is your responsibility to tactfully tell your library's male librarian that no one is fooled by his bad toupee.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thanks, Getting

Always conclude each interaction with a library patron by handing them a "Library Feedback" comment card which you have pre-filled with self-praise documenting what an awesome librarian you are.

Ask the readers: What will you write about yourself on your patrons' "Library Feedback" cards?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Folksy, Being

A polite librarian should always refer to library patrons and colleagues with charming folksy names like darling, buddy, sweetie, sweetheart, champ, sport, honey, tiger, baby, babe, or dear.  Your deliberately calculated efforts to sound like someone's grandmother will be a great complement to your cardigan, your glasses on a chain, and the bowl of hard candy you keep on your desk.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vacations, Describing

A polite librarian should return from vacation with an intentionally bland description of his or her time away from the library.  No one needs to be teased with thoughts of relaxing on a beach, traveling to foreign lands, or partaking in debauchery-filled adventures.  Instead, spare everyone and say, "I just spent some time at home sewing clothes for my cats and watching reruns of Golden Girls."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Online instruction, Mastering

If you are going to record your library instruction lectures and post them on YouTube, at least spice things up by doing the videos topless.  It won't make your talk any more intelligible, but it'll hold your students' interest and increase your video's view count.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Climate, Controlling the

Every librarian should be armed with a personal space heater beneath and an oscillating fan atop his or her workstation.  These may need to be run simultaneously to satisfy your extreme sensitivity to temperature and the library's nonsensical heating and cooling system.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Manga, Collecting

Comic book-loving librarians should refer to their beloved medium as anime and/or manga.  Doing so will cause your library colleagues to suddenly recognize your interest as a legitimate genre and give you lots of money to build a collection at your library.  If this doesn't work,  you can always return to your strategy of drawing half-naked, doe-eyed Japanese girl samurais and posting them in your cubicle.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Language, Emerging

If your library colleagues tire of hearing you talk about Web 2.0 tools at your library, switch things up and start referring to the same tools as "emerging technologies."  This can buy you up to two more weeks of being the Facebook librarian.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Vampire Lovers, Slaying

If a library colleague goes overboard with his or her love of vampire novels, it is your responsibility to stab that person through the heart with a wooden newspaper stick.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Conferences, Returning from

Upon returning from a professional library conference, your post-conference report should include more than a list of restaurants you visited and a random collection of vendor brochures.  Also leave out the part about waking up in an alley nine days after the conference officially ended.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Conference, Putting the "er" in

A good librarian will go to library conferences and sit through mind-numbing presentations made by other librarians.  Repeat this mind-numbing ritual over and over again for three solid days, and you will be mentally ready to go back to your job at the library.

Editor's note: Your esteemed editor will be taking a break from the blog to attend the Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Washington, DC.  In the meantime, you can follow your colleagues' notable breaches of library etiquette via Twitter at:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fluids, Discussing bodily

Librarians should never discuss bodily fluids [including, but not limited to: urine, vomit, earwax, gastric juice, breast milk, mucus, phlegm, pus, saliva, sebum, semen, snot, vaginal secretions, sweat, tears, amniotic fluid, diarrhea, smegma, and blood] in the library work place... unless those fluids are found on recently-returned library books.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Music, Your choice of

Polite librarians know that their officemates hate their choice of low-playing music in the library workplace. If you insist on playing music in your office space, choose something that you both hate so that you can ridicule it together.

Ask the readers: What is the worst music you have had to endure in your library?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sinus, Bathing your

A polite librarian will never use his or her neti pot in the library's breakroom sink, in a public restroom, or at a drinking fountain.  If your patrons or coworkers want to watch you give yourself a nasal enema, they can look you up on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Classrooms, Organic

Teaching librarians who don't like to do lesson planning should elect to let their classes sessions "grow organically." This can be done by arranging your students into rows, turning on a heated projector lamp, and feeding them some shit that you make up on the fly. If the students begin to wilt, allow them to take a water break, and then re-fertilize.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Green, Going

All good librarians should try to out-green their coworkers with increasingly aggressive attempts to make their library work spaces environmentally friendly.  Below are some ideas to get you started...
  • Publicly berate coworkers for not using double-sided printing.
  • Go "off the grid" and cut the power lines that lead to your library building.
  • Hoard empty soda cans and discarded beer bottles in your office and declare the area an "Ant Sanctuary."
  • Steal your coworkers' discarded apple cores and banana peels for the fly-infested compost pile you keep under your desk.
  • Turn off the lights in the reading room, and demand that all patrons purchase library-issued solar-powered light caps.
Ask the readers: What aggressive green tips do you use at your library?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Schlepping, Stylishly

A librarian should use a square-bottomed, post-consumer recycled Trader Joe's grocery tote as a briefcase or purse.  It is large enough to hold your knitting, your book, your laptop, your cats, and your enormous lack of fashion sense.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Interviews (Women), Dressing for

When dressing for a library job interview, a female candidate should always match her twinset to her socks. (The latter will show through your dressy work Crocs).

Ask the readers: What do you think female librarians should wear to a library job interview?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Interviews (Men), Dressing for

When dressing for a library job interview, male candidates should wear one, and no more than one, of the following items to increase their chances of landing the position:
  • a book- or literature-themed necktie
  • a cell phone on your belt
  • a kilt
  • a porn mustache
  • your LARP costume
Choose wisely, and good luck!

Ask the readers: What do you think male librarians should wear to a library job interview?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Talk, Girl

Librarians should feel free to casually discuss menstrual cycles, menopause, and feminine hygiene/grooming around the library workspace.  Don't worry about scandalizing your library's male librarian.  He had his testicles removed as part of library school "orientation."

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Military, Going

Librarians should embrace their inner drill sergeants and become "information warriors" in the library instruction classroom.  Knit yourself a camouflaged cardigan, convert your classroom into a bibliographic boot camp, and put in a work order to have your bookmobile converted into a tank.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Success, Dressing for

Your library coworkers maintain a spreadsheet documenting how often you wear your favorite outfit, and so should you.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Humiliation, Feeling

A librarian should never allow her-/himself to be videotaped while dancing and singing about libraries.  Find the part of yourself that says, "This will be cute!" and remove it from your body with a dull letter opener.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Discreet, Being

A polite circulation librarian should always repeat the name of the patron's book aloud at the conclusion of a library check-out transaction.  By loudly saying, "I hope you enjoy An Idiot's Guide to Do-It-Yourself Colonoscopies, Ms. Johnson," you will not only confirm your patron's book selection, but also send the patron away with a personal touch they won't likely forget.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interviews, Preparing for

Librarians should always prepare for job interviews by stalking their interviewers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools.  Nothing says, "I have mad research skills!" like sharing your intimate knowledge of a complete stranger's personal life.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Teaching, Mastering the art of

If students are not falling asleep during your library instruction classes, you are not doing it right. Lower the lights, turn up the heat, and consider getting a mentor to coach you through the intricacies of mass sedation.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Games, Playing

Librarians can improve their library instruction classes by adopting a game-show format.  Use a long microphone, have a leggy model point to the projected image of your computer screen, and give away fabulous prizes like an all-expenses paid trip to Boredom Island.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Minds, Reading

Beware of fellow librarians who claim to have an omniscient understanding of how patrons think.  This ability to empathize with their users can cause these librarians to overlook the fact that they sound like condescending gas bags when sharing their "knowledge" of a patron's point of view.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Candy, Throwing

Throwing candy to students as an incentive for participating in your library instruction classes gives you, the librarian, an opportunity to showcase not only your library catalog, databases, and facility, but also your glaring lack of athletic ability.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jargon, Avoiding

Librarians should avoid library jargon at all costs.  Using outdated words like patrons, library, catalog, books, circulation, and reading is a surefire way to alienate people who come to your information building to use a findy thing to look for words on paper that they can then take home and view with their eyes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Stats, Increasing

One measure of a library's effectiveness is its reference desk statistics.  Librarians can increase their stats at the reference desk by:
  • replacing the desk's "Information" sign with one that reads, "Free Office Supplies!!!"
  • hiring hotter reference librarians
  • making the library impossible for lay people to use
  • firing all the instruction librarians
  • consistently inflating the numbers to make yourself appear more valuable
Ask the readers: How do you increase reference desk statistics @ your library?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Instruction, Rehearsing

Always rehearse your search demonstrations before you go into a classroom so as to avoid stumbling upon any of the nuances and idiosyncrasies that your patrons will actually encounter once they begin their own research.  Taking the time to prepare can spare you the excruciating experience of explaining all the different ways your link resolver sucks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Paper, Clipping

Librarians should always keep a stash of paper clips available at the reference desk.  You can use paper clips to...
  • eject illegally burned CDs from uncooperative PCs
  • perform emergency body-piercings for Goth patrons
  • make a chain/lasso for roping unattended children
  • create a collapsible ladder for your dramatic escape from the library's roof
  • gouge your eyes out after seeing the thing that guy was doing in the stairwell

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diverse populations, Serving

Librarians can overcome language barriers at the circulation desk by answering every foreign language question with the answer, "No!"  And remember, everyone speaks the language of wild, exaggerated hand gestures.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Zombies, Fighting

If your library is invaded by zombies, a librarian should invite them all into the classroom and bore them to death with a lecture about scholarly versus popular periodicals.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Zzzs, Catching some

If you find one of your library coworkers sleeping at his or her desk, just leave them be.  If the librarian doesn't move for five days and begins to attract flies, you may have a bigger problem that will require you to file a work order.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Passwords, Securing

Librarians should secure their patrons' privacy by using a piece of transparent tape to affix sensitive system passwords to the library's reference desk computer monitor.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Privacy, Choosing

Celebrate Choose Privacy Week by giving your library's resident pervert a little extra space to do his thing in the back corner of the public computer lab.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Exams, Final

Academic reference librarians should welcome Final Exams Week by taking a much deserved vacation.  Before you leave though, be sure to hire a monkey who, in your absence, is capable of pointing to the stapler.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Opening, Waiting for an

It is customary to make patrons wait outside until the precise moment your library opens.  As the opening hour arrives, be sure to stand within view of the locked front door and make a big show of watching the clock while you drink coffee, laugh with your coworkers, and animatedly discuss the morning's inclement weather.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gates, Securing the

Many libraries are equipped with alarmed gates that set off sirens when a patron leaves the building with uncharged items.  It is then up to the librarian to stop the offending patron and administer a humiliating full-body search for the nearly-stolen item.  Some polite strategies for stopping patrons are listed below:
  • Repeatedly say, "Sir?  Sir?!  SIR?!" in escalating volumes.
  • Throw a foam boomerang at the patron's feet.
  • Use a homemade paperclip lasso to rope and hogtie the patron.
  • Equip the alarm to trigger a trap door that will dump the patron into an alligator-filled pit.
  • Shrug in defeat and let them walk away.
Ask the readers: How do you stop patrons who set off your library's security gate?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stools, Kick

The perfect gift for a newly minted library school graduate is not a Nancy Pearl doll, a book of temporary librarian tattoos, or one of the wonderful items from the Librarian's Guide to Etiquette online store.  Instead, buy your aspiring librarian his or her own library kick stool to represent the big step they are taking from being "a graduate student" to being "unemployed."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sticks, Carrying big

Every librarian should speak softly and carry a big stick.  This stick can be used to hang newspapers, prod sleeping patrons, or retrieve foreign objects from public toilets.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Yourself, Being

Librarians should not use the library's anonymous "instant message" reference service to get a colleague to do their work for them.  While it might be easy to pass off an emailed reference question or request a copy of a hard-to-find article, your cover will likely be blown when you ask them to write your annual review for you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hell, Avoiding

Librarians should try to do good deeds and live good lives. Because Hell, for a librarian, involves working at a reference desk with an endless line of patrons who want to tell you about their family genealogies.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Abstinence, Practicing

Librarians should never have sex.  The world can't handle it.  Plus, your profession needs your resulting sexual frustration channeled towards the uniform placement of call number labels on book spines.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Administrative Professionals, Honoring

Celebrate your library's administrative professionals by having them purchase themselves a "Happy Administrative Professionals Day!" greeting card using petty cash.  Each honoree can then hand-deliver his or her card from office to office collecting signatures from library coworkers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New librarians, Hazing

When your academic library hires a new librarian, he or she should be subjected to a one-semester hazing period. If wedgies, swirlies, and noogies aren't your style, just have the person conduct all the freshmen tours, record the minutes for your library staff meetings, and tally your five-year backlog of hash marked reference desk statistics.

Ask the readers: Do you have other suggested activities for hazing new librarians? Share them in the comments section below.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Read, Being well-

Use your experience at the library's reference desk to get the pulse of what people are reading.  If you want people to read and cite your writing, consider writing an article entitled, "The Effects of Global Warming on Marijuana Legalization: Can Childhood Obesity be the Next Diabetes for Autistic Serial Killers with HIV/AIDS."  If you can publish this in The Academic Journal -- Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Research Articles, that's all the better.

Note: If you are a desperate undergraduate who stumbled upon this page in a Google search, stop right now and go see your local librarian.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dissatisfaction, Faking

Librarians should celebrate National Library Week by pretending to be dissatisfied with their profession. Admitting that you actually like your job is a sign of weakness, and it will open you up to ridicule and resentment from your library colleagues. You'll be much happier if you pretend to be miserable.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tweets, Writing archive-worthy

Librarians should celebrate National Library Week by tweeting their support for libraries.  Your public Twitter posts will now be recorded for posterity by the Library of Congress, thus cementing your writing in the cultural record alongside tweets from @glennbeck, the unofficial @MTV_JerseyShore, and @fart_robot.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Posters, Motivating with

Celebrate National Library Week by staring lustfully over your glasses at your hunky celebrity READ poster while absentmindedly filing vendor invoices in your lonely cubicle.

[Link updated 4/9/12.]

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yourself, Celebrating

Librarians should celebrate National Library Week with desperate, self-congratulatory behavior, like begging patrons for written compliments about the library and ghost-writing pro-library letters to the editor.  If you think you have done an especially good job of patting yourself on the back, consider nominating yourself as a "National Library Week Star."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Without, Doing

Librarians should celebrate National Library Week by temporarily closing their libraries.  Nothing will make your patrons appreciate their libraries and librarians like going for a whole week without free books and movie rentals, free wireless Internet, and online pornography.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Management, Classroom

A librarian should begin each library instruction class by plucking headphones from students' ears, confiscating cell phones, and searching all bookbags for contraband food.  If there is any time remaining, show them all how to become fans of the library's new Facebook page.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Librarians should never LOL in a library.  If you hear, see, or read something in the library that requires you to LOL, quietly dismiss yourself from the room and LOL into a paper bag in your office. If you excuse yourself to ROTFL, be sure to straighten your skirt before returning to the circulation desk.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Books, Smelling

Never let your library patrons know that the romanticized "book smell" they love so much is actually just a mixture of burned popcorn from the staff microwave, carpet mildew from the children's section, and sweaty teenagers making out in the stairway.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Traps, Setting

Count the Skittles in your candy dish each morning and evening to see if the library's after-hours custodial crew is eating food from your desk.  If you determine that they are, in fact, eating your candy, hide a note at the bottom of the bowl that says, "You have just been busted by a very petty librarian."

Monday, April 05, 2010

Briefcases, Beware of rolling

Librarians should beware of patrons toting rolling briefcases.  Those briefcases are loaded with so much unspent hostility that they can't be lifted.  You don't want these bags to be opened in the reference room.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Expertise, Establishing

Always begin your answer to a reference question by stating your educational credentials.  Your master's degrees in library science and English literature will lend credibility to your directions to the nearest restroom.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fools' Day, Celebrating

Celebrate April Fools' Day by telling playfully outlandish tales to your library patrons, like, "The library web site is a good alternative to Google!" or "I would love to hear about your family genealogy!"  Hilarity will ensue.

Ask the readers: What outlandish tales will you tell this April Fools' Day?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yums, Yucking

The best birthday gift you can give a library coworker is to refrain from discussing your Irritable Bowel Syndrome, food allergies, eating disorders, and/or vegetarianism during her office birthday lunch outing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Drinks, Dribbling

If you are going to spill dribbles of tea or coffee onto the floor as you leave the library's break room, please be kind enough to leave a trail that leads all the way back to your office.  This courtesy will allow the custodians to easily track you down and beat you mercilessly with their mops.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Booktruck dance teams, Avoiding

Never agree to be on a library committee without first reading its charge.  Sometimes an innocuous sounding group, like the "Collection Assessment Revisioning Team," turns out to be the code name for your library's secret book cart dance troupe. And, yes, costumes are mandatory.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Handouts, Displaying

Never clean off your library's service desks.  Your display of outdated flyers, bookmarks, maps, comment cards, business cards, fast food coupons, calendars, newsletters, free newspapers, path finders, search tip sheets, and database help guides can just be buried beneath their new, more up-to-date replacements.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Victories, Celebrating

Librarians should celebrate monumental workplace victories with Gatorade showers. A meeting that lasts less than one hour? Give the committee chair a Gatorade shower! Faculty members who return books before their due dates? Give them a Gatorade shower! A class in which students make eye contact and respond to you? Give yourself a Gatorade shower! While costly clean-up can be an issue, the rarity of these events should minimize any damages.

Ask the readers: What "victories" would deserve a Gatorade shower @ your library?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Law, Being above the

As a librarian, you have the authority to flagrantly disobey your library's food and drink policy. Have pizzas delivered to the circulation desk, answer reference questions while gnawing on a fried chicken leg, and shelve books while eating cotton candy. No librarian should ever have to go hungry while vigilantly enforcing the library's prohibitions on bottled water.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Perverted, Being

Librarians who attend the Public Library Association's National Conference should be on the lookout for the most perverse group of librarians that ever existed... those that present at library conferences with no consideration of tenure and promotion. /shudder/

Monday, March 22, 2010

Volume, Pump down the

Never admonish library patrons for listening to their headphones too loudly.  Instead, a librarian should stand beside the offending patron, dance a vigorous MC Hammer dance, and say, "Wow!  I'm really digging that jam!"  Your endorsement will render the patron's coolness null and void, and send him or her running out of the library in embarrassment.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Instruction, Planning for

The more time a librarian spends preparing for a library instruction session, the more disappointed that librarian will be when it doesn't go as well as expected. Spare yourself the time, energy, and frustration by following this lesson plan:  
  1. Show up for class ten minutes late.
  2. Muddle through a database search on "global warming" (no matter what class it's for).
  3. Deride the class for being "a bunch of damn do-nothing millennials."
Dismiss class by abruptly walking out and slamming the door behind you for dramatic effect.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quiet, Enforcing

Set up a "quiet zone" in your library for your militant, overly-confrontational, hostility-seeking librarian to patrol.  This librarian-warrior should be provided with camouflaged clothing, a tazer (equipped with a silencer), and an intimidating metal finger guard for extreme shushing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green, The wearing of the

Be sure to wear green on St. Patrick's Day.  As you read this, your perverted librarian coworker is wandering the stacks looking for someone to pinch.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Assimilation, Required reading for

College & Research Libraries News should be required reading for every academic librarian as they assimilate into the library workplace.  How else will one learn how to speak, make friends, and "be a person"?

Ask the readers: What other "assimilation" articles would you like to see printed in C&RL News?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Brackets, Filling out

Entertain yourself at work by making tournament brackets in which you pit your library coworkers against one another in fictional battles of competitive nerd-dom (book cart races), physical strength (librarian death matches), and/or interpersonal communication (maintaining eye contact during conversations).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tweets, Printing your

As many libraries and librarians embrace Twitter as a medium for professional correspondence and writing, they should be mindful to print their Tweets (individually; one per page) for inclusion in performance review portfolios.  Your reviewers will appreciate this documentation and will no doubt reward you for your concise writing style, your conscientious hashtagging, and your prolific professional "conversations" with yourself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It, Sticking

Your choice of Post-it notes (or their generic counterparts) is essential to intra-library communication.  Choose a size and color for your correspondence that reflects your library personality.  For example:
  • Small notes are preferred by Tweeting-librarians.  
  • Large, line-ruled pads are used by more "mature" librarians.  
  • Pastels are for the meek, mild, and milquetoasts.  
  • Neons are used by librarians who are trying too hard to be cool.  
  • Pale yellow is reserved for the criminally insane (and/or the budget-restrained). 
Never use pieces of scrap paper and transparent tape to communicate with your library coworkers.  That is just pitiful.

Ask the readers: What kind of Post-its do you use, and what do they say about you?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Skills, Assessing your librarian

Your proficiency as a librarian can be measured solely through your ability to un-jam a printer without getting toner on your hands.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Socialism, Capitalizing on Anti-

Public libraries should capitalize on popular anti-socialist sentiments by using tax-payers' money to offer more "free" books by Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, and Glenn Beck for their patrons.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Career Counselor, Being a

As a librarian, you will occasionally be called upon to counsel someone who is interested in joining your noble profession.  Always present librarianship in a positive way to these prospective librarians, and resist the urge to show them your "I Dewey Decimal" tattoo, your Nancy Pearl doll, or your pay check stub.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Budget, Cutting the

In tough economic times, libraries are often forced to make painful budget cuts.  Too often though, these cuts (layoffs, materials spending, etc.) happen behind the scenes and go unnoticed by library patrons.  Librarians can help their own budget situations by making bold, noticeable budget cuts that are sure to capture the attention of their users.  Some suggestions:
  1. Replace compact fluorescent light bulbs with... no light bulbs.
  2. Replace photocopiers with volunteer oral historians.
  3. Charge $5 per printed page.  (Twenty-page minimum.)
  4. Hire volunteer sex-offenders to conduct all story-time and young adult programming.
  5. Replace audio-book collection with homeless people who will follow patrons around and read books aloud.
  6. Heat the library by burning Bibles.
  7. Stop buying vampire novels.
Ask the readers: Do you have other bold ideas?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Flash mobs, Library

The best way to deter a flash mob from taking place in your academic library is to invite students to an official, library-sponsored flash mob.  Announcing it on Facebook, Twitter, and your library blog will drain it of all coolness and make it just as sparsely attended as all of your "local author" book discussion events.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Fanny pack, The ready reference

Every reference librarian should wear a fanny pack (or "bum bag" for readers in the UK) filled with office supplies. You never know when a patron will need your professional services to procure a pencil, an ink pen, a highlighter, WiteOut, Post-it notes, a small paper clip, a large paper clip, a 3x5" notecard, a 4x6" notecard, a staple remover, a permanent marker, a pair of scissors, a hole punch, a pencil, a ruler, binder clips, a blank CD, scrap paper, a stapler, a tissue, pain reliever, a Band-Aid, Rolaids, or a condom.

Ask the readers: What else do you carry in your "ready reference" fanny pack?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Women's History Month, Celebrating

March is Women's History Month. Celebrate the accomplishments of women everywhere by making your library's lone male librarian create a book display to mark the occasion.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Reading, Professional

Many library organizational memberships come with complimentary subscriptions to professional library magazines or journals. Pile these publications in a prominent place in your office to give the appearance of being a well-read, up-to-date librarian. By the time you retire, you will have enough issues to build a fortified wall around your desk to protect you from the kind of librarians who actually read those things.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Paralibrarian, Being a

The term "paralibrarian" should never be used to classify your library's paraprofessional staff.  These greedy library staffers already have enough names without having to devalue the education and training required to become a parachuting librarian.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Signs, Making patrons read

Frustrated with patrons who won't read the signs you have hanging throughout your library? Here are some tips...
  1. Invest in a newer, bigger, shinier, more colorful sign that reads, "PLEASE READ ALL SIGNS @ YOUR LIBRARY."
  2. Subliminally sneak random naughty words into your signs (e.g., "NO porn sex FOOD naked OR DRINKS IN xxx adult THE LIBRARY")
  3. Add the following language in small print to the bottom of all existing signs: "Patrons who do not read signs are subject to eye rolls, sassing, or even bodily harm from the librarian on duty."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Legacy, Leaving a

Decorate the librarian-side of your reference desk with hand-scrawled sticky notes, outdated scraps of paper, and dog-eared policy documents of unknown origin. Your contribution of an unlabeled call number on a Post-it will most likely outlast your career.

For extra fun, discreetly post the URL for this post somewhere on your library's reference desk (dated on the back), and see how long it lasts there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Robot, You are not a

Librarians should refrain from calling themselves "cybrarians."  If you talk this way, it may be time for someone to reformat your hard drive.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stapler, Loading the

Never let the library's stapler run out of staples at the reference desk. This important piece of equipment fastens more than just your partrons' sheets of paper, it holds together the entire fabric of the library profession.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Comedian, Being an amatuer

Instruction librarians should use well-rehearsed library jokes, one-liners, and puns in an attempt to lighten the tone of their library lectures.  Just remember that you are only funny in relation to the dryness of your lesson, and your students still think you're a dweeb even if they do laugh at your recycled jokes.

Ask the readers: What comedic gems do you use re-use in your library lectures?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Timing, Perfecting your

A librarian should never prepare one hour of material for a one-hour class. The professor will always be ten minutes late, instruct you to wait five more minutes for any "straggling" students, and then take ten minutes to hand back homework and check attendance. You can spend those twenty-five lost minutes looking at Facebook like everyone else in the room before teaching your 30-minute class.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kids, Supporting your coworkers'

As a librarian you will be expected to buy overpriced magazine subscriptions, candy bars, fruit, and frozen cookie dough from your coworkers for their kids' school fundraisers. If you don't yield to these solicitations, those snot-nosed little punks might slash the tires on your library booktruck.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hands, Holding

A good librarian will register his or her library colleagues for the Handheld Librarian Online Conference, set up a group viewing room, and send daily reminders leading up to the gathering. Those who stand to benefit most from the conference need a lot of hand holding and can't do these things by themselves.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Webinars, Attending

Library administrators can use webinars to provide their librarians with professional development opportunities right from the comfort of their computer desktop. If you are lucky enough to attend a webinar, be sure to thank your boss for letting you sleep through a soul-crushing PowerPoint presentation without the burden of having to travel to a new city, eat at nice restaurants, and swim in the hotel's indoor pool.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day, Celebrating

Embrace the stereotype of sexy librarian, and celebrate Valentine's Day at your library by flirting with your patrons. [Note: If you are a children's librarian, this advice may get you arrested.]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day, Preparing for

As Valentine's Day approaches, librarians should begin reviewing and updating the library's prohibitions against public displays of affection, the viewing of explicit online content, and the reading of terrible love poetry.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Black History Month, Celebrating

Celebrate Black History Month @ your library by publicly calling your cataloger a racist for using the subject heading "Blacks -- History" instead of "African American -- History" in a catalog record.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snacks, Squirreling

During the cold winter months, librarians will sometimes deplete their stores of office snacks, frozen Weight Watchers meals, and vending machine fare at their libraries. Should the need arise, you may turn your computer keyboard upside down, shake it, and find a full meal of granola, muffin crumbs, and M&Ms Minis.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Morning person, Being a

Being a morning person does not give you the right to talk to your library coworkers before 9:00 a.m. Be courteous and give them some space. Conversations involving database contracts, 856 fields, or Access reports are strictly prohibited until after lunch.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Questions, Stupid

You are professionally obligated to tell your library's patrons that "There's no such thing as a stupid question," even though they will always try and succeed at proving you wrong.

Ask the readers: What is the stupidest question you've ever been asked?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Humble, Being

Never admit that your web design skills surpass those of your Web Librarian. If you do, you might find yourself assigned to a powerless Web Page Oversight Committee that makes recommendations your Web Librarian can't implement.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mobile, Going

Libraries should spend a lot of time, money, and effort to make their web sites mobile-phone-compatible. Smart phone users should have just as much right to ignore your page as the rest of your patrons.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Shadows, Seeing

On February 2, acquisitions librarians will emerge from their offices with a printout of the library's budget. If they see their shadows, there will be six more weeks of book ordering. If they don't, new book orders will go into a queue for the next budget cycle.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Authority file, Respecting your

At least once per year, one of your library's catalogers should walk up to the reference desk and shank a reference librarian with a letter opener. These public shows of aggression will earn you the respect of your colleagues and help maintain the social order in your library.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Place, Knowing your

If a faculty member calls you, a librarian, by the wrong name (Sharon instead of Susan, or Mike instead of Mark) in the classroom, just roll with it. At least they are talking to you and not giving you a wedgie in front of the class. Maybe if you're lucky, they'll even let you carry their books to their next class.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Systems librarians, Being nice to

Be nice to your systems librarians. Not only do they control your Internet access, they also have the power to see how much of your workday you spend watering imaginary plants, shopping for crocheted cat clothes, and looking at food porn.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sick, Calling in

Take time during your sick day to call your library and ask for yourself using a fake voice. This will not only remind your coworkers that you are ill and deserving of their pity, but it will also make them think that you are in high demand.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Information Commons, Building an

Modernize your library with a new information commons by buying movable modular furniture, specialized computer software, multimedia presentation equipment, etc.

Restricted by a tight budget? Do it on the cheap by renaming your existing computer lab with a hand-scrawled "Information Commons" sign.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Headphones, Lending

If your library lends headphones to patrons, it is important to properly sanitize such equipment between uses. In fact, a new group (The "Equipment for Audible Recordings: Cleaning Resources of User Dander" Committee) should be formed posthaste to develop the appropriate procedures and workflows.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Passwords, Creating

Librarians should secure sensitive information on the reference desk computer with a super-secret password, like: library, reference, reflib, libref, or refdesk. This will throw hackers for a loop, as they will be expecting something much more complicated.

Ask the readers: Share your library's lame reference desk password in the comments below. (Anonymously, of course. Otherwise the hackers might log in and change your library's reference desk schedule.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Plants, Killing

There is a reason plants won't grow in your library office. Your PowerPoint presentations suck the life out of them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Viruses, Getting

Computer viruses only attack library computers that are being operated by the elderly, the feeble, and those with weak constitutions. Oh, and perverts. If your staff computer becomes infected, it is best to set it on fire and avoid being identified as one or more of the above.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Snuggies, Wearing

Yes, they make your sweatpants look dressy, but no, Snuggies are never appropriate library workplace attire.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tools, Emerging

Some librarians believe that "there is a cry for emerging tools" (1:32) rising up from today's library patrons. That cry seems to have been answered.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Names, Dropping

Quote "A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette" in your ALA Midwinter conference presentation, and you'll be entered in a drawing for a free LGTE mug. Send proof of your quotation to

Not going to ALA Midwinter? Wow, it must suck to be you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Conferences, Tweeting

Write your twitter name on your ALA Midwinter nametag so that attendees can easily identify fellow library conference tweeters. This will allow for face-to-face tweeting, eliminating the need for awkward eye contact and talking with other humans. #alamw10

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Airplanes, Flying on

As you are flying to Boston for ALA Midwinter, be sure to acknowledge your library-brethren -- the flight attendants. Like you, these kindred spirits teach in small, confined spaces; they express an obvious boredom with teaching the same lesson over and over again; and their lessons are directed to patrons who blatantly ignore them.

For those of you who are not flying to Boston, express your camaraderie by handing out packets of peanuts to the students in your library classes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tobacco, Disposing of

Please do not spit your chewing tobacco into the library's public restroom urinal. If you need to flush it, swallow it first.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Kindle, Using your

All of your library coworkers resent you for owning a Kindle, and they secretly hope it breaks. If you insist on reading it at work, consider disguising it in a hollowed-out book.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Archivists, Offending

Never refer to an archivist as a "librarian" unless you are looking to insult them. And if that is the case, you might also call their mother a "cataloger."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Groups, Joining

Beware of grouping with other librarians. Your lanyards might get tangled together.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Greatness, Defining

A good librarian will supply the reference desk with a perfectly-sized, uniform stack of call number note slips manually cut from recycled office paper. A great librarian will write an article about how to do it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fresh, Starting

Celebrate the new year with a fresh start by painting over all the racist, homophobic graffiti in your library's bathroom stalls. You can discourage the return of crudely drawn genitals and scribbled hate speech by installing a small sign in each stall that reads, "This space is monitored by video surveillance."