Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stereotypes, Perpetuating

Librarians should not perpetuate the “sexy librarian” stereotype... unless they are really, really hot.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Plank, Walking the

If your library coworkers insist on celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day, it is perfectly acceptable to keelhaul them under the library’s bookmobile.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rules, Enforcing the

All back-to-school library orientation sessions should include video footage of librarians murdering patrons who don’t follow the rules.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Appreciated, Being

A polite librarian should never encourage patrons who are prone to stalking the library’s public service staff. Instead, have those creepy patrons channel their obsessions into nominations for the I Love My Librarian Award. If you win, you can spend the $5,000 cash award to hire a personal body guard to protect you from your nominator.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Zombified, Being

Librarians should allow themselves to be infected by the recent zombie fad in libraries. This can be done on the cheap by having your librarians sit at the reference desk, stare vacantly, and moan for brains.

Ask the readers: How do you infuse zombie culture into your library?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Potluck meals, Contributing to

Librarians should not offer crunched up Snickers bars from the staff vending machine as their contributions to the library staff potluck. If you forget to bring a dish, select the Kit-Kat bars instead.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Eco-friendly, Being

An eco-friendly librarian should use his or her personal work space to collect coworkers' recyclable trash that falls outside the library's limited recycling options. By allowing this garbage to accumulate in your office, you are simultaneously saving the planet and providing an ecosystem for the library's roaches and mice.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Workday, Scheduling your

Librarians should limit noteworthy workplace activities to 30 minutes per day. The rest of the workday should be spent reporting this activity on various online social networks.

[Editor's note: You can now "circle" A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette on Google+. See: http://gplus.to/politelibrarian]

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Diva, Being a Pencil

Librarians should be fanatical about their choice of pencils. Whether you prefer the classic feel of a wooden #2 pencil, the silent lead advancement of a .7mm Paper Mate Sharpwriter, or the clicking comfort of Bic’s Bicmatic Grip, insist that your library director cater to your personal writing preferences regardless of the cost.

[Editor’s note: This blog post was first drafted using a gold Montegrappa Alfa Romeo mechanical pencil.]

Ask the readers: Librarians, what is your favorite pencil?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Conferences, Ducking out of

If you are going to skip out on library conference sessions or avoid the event completely, be sure to periodically post generic fake tweets (“Geeze, this conference room is sooo cold!” “Long line at the restroom!” “This session is so interesting!”) from the beach, mall, or bar where you are spending your day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leaders, Thought

Some librarians earn the informal distinction as the library world’s “thought leaders” because of their grand ideas and bold visions for the future. Always ask your friends and colleagues to weigh in with their thoughts and opinions about your status as a thought leader before making any such declarations about yourself.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Connections, Making

As you are flying to New Orleans for ALA, be sure to acknowledge your library-brethren/sistren -- 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 New Orleans, express your camaraderie by handing out packets of peanuts to the students in your library classes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interns, Working with

Librarians should always do their best to teach summer interns important transferable life skills while working in the library... like shelf reading, putting newspapers on sticks, and scrubbing the urine from the inside of the after-hours book drop.

Ask the readers: Which jobs do you save for your interns?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chairs, Pushing in

Librarians should militantly enforce the “pushing in” of recently vacated public chairs in their libraries. As you make your rounds through the library, forcefully bump the chairs against the tables as a passive aggressive warning of your quiet rage for any future potential violators.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Admiration, Secret

A librarian should never order flowers and have them delivered to him-/herself at the reference desk (unless you want to make your coworkers think that someone actually loves you).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Code, Speaking in

Librarians should remove all printed library signs from their buildings and replace them with QR codes. This will finally get your patrons to notice your library's “No Cell Phones” policy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fines, Charging

Librarians should charge overdue fines for readers who don’t return their books on time. This is done not so much to penalize delinquent borrowers, but to raise funds for the library staff’s monthly drunken pizza party.

Ask the readers: What decadent things does your library do with overdue fine revenues?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Snacks, Sharing

A librarian should never bring donuts or pastries to share with the office unless s/he is prepared to listen to library coworkers talk about their weight problems while eating said donuts or pastries. Also, a librarian should not bring carrots to share with the office unless s/he is prepared to listen to library coworkers talk about how they’d rather be eating donuts or pastries.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Code, Breaking the

A librarian who wishes to show his/her rebellious side may choose to do so by subverting the library’s employee dress code. Go crazy and wear your garden Crocs at the reference desk instead of your dress Crocs.

Ask the readers: How do you push the limits of your library's dress code?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Up, Cleaning

If someone vomits in a public area of your library, don’t trouble your janitorial staff to clean it up. Simply burn down the building and start from scratch with a new library.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Loyalty, Database

A librarian should never commit to one library database vendor/interface. Eventually that vendor will merge with someone else, leaving you with an outdated Wilson Web logo tattooed on your midriff.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Reference desk, Reinventing the

Libraries should abandon their stuffy old reference desks and seek more creative ways to reach their patrons. Who needs a reference desk when you can have roving librarians wearing “info vests,” riding a “biblio buggy,” or working from a “rolling reference ‘un-desk’”? (Can’t afford a biblio buggy, try the “biblio buggy lite.”)

Ask the readers: How would you reinvent the reference desk at your library?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hats, Wearing

A polite librarian should never wear a hat at the reference desk... unless you plan to subtly make it an essential element of your reference interview technique.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Searching, Advanced

If students are growing tired of your default "global warming" search examples in the library instruction classroom, switch things up and demonstrate how you can use your refined search skills to stalk hot patrons using their library accounts and open Facebook profiles.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Web pages, Redesigning

A polite librarian should never report problems or make suggestions to his or her Webmaster about the library’s Web site. Instead, design and launch a rival library Web site that is infinitely better and see if you can steal away all the traffic from the original.

Ask the readers: Do you have a library Web site that needs to be challenged and put out of its misery? Share links in the comments below.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Glamorous, Being

A polite librarian should resist any attempts at glamor or fashion and refrain from wearing meat dresses at the reference desk. A cardigan covered with Greek yogurt and cat hair is adequately fashionable.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Austerity, Measuring

In tough economic times, librarians may cut book budgets, lay off staff, and reduce hours to make ends meet, but never purchase a lower grade of toilet tissue for your public restrooms lest you face a public uprising.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Staplers, Repairing

A polite librarian should never underestimate a patron’s ability to find new, creative ways to destroy the library’s staplers.

Ask the readers: Do you have a story of an exceptionally durable stapler, an epic repair job you performed, or a memorial to one that is no longer with us?  Please share in the comments below.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Apps, Cool library

Good librarians should abandon their books, web sites, blogs, and tweets in favor of the latest library co-opted  technology: “apps.” Start referring to all of your library's books, web sites, blogs, and tweets as “cool library apps” and they will suddenly be relevant again.

Ask the readers: What is your favorite library "app"?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

No, Just say (REVISITED)

A polite librarian should not allow patrons to puncture one another’s feet. Please update your library’s signs to reflect this change in policy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Praise, Soliciting

Library workers should celebrate National Library Workers Day by subtly explaining to their patrons that today is  National Library Workers Day and that they should probably be grateful and wish their library worker a happy National Library Workers Day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Endorsements, Celebrity

Librarians should celebrate National Library Week by recruiting celebrities to write op-ed pieces for their local newspapers, to film televised library public service announcements, and/or to star in pro-library YouTube videos. If you don’t have access to a celebrity, it is perfectly acceptable to dress up as one and do the promotion yourself.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Thank you, Saying

Nothing says, “Thanks for covering for me while I was away at a conference” to your library’s staff like a free Innovative Interfaces ink pen/highlighter combo that you pilfered from a vendor booth.

Ask the readers: Do you have a favorite vendor pen? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Colons, The appropriateness of

There is never an appropriate time to discuss your colonoscopy with your library patrons or coworkers. If they are interested, politely direct them to the public photo album you posted on Facebook.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Learning, Active

Instruction librarians should incorporate active learning strategies in their library instruction classrooms.  These are best received if they are somewhat dangerous.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Job descriptions, Going beyond

Librarians should never perform duties that fall outside their official job descriptions unless those duties might encourage patrons to go to the library more.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Popular, Being

Librarians should make pop culture references in library instruction classes to connect with younger audiences.  Today's youth are all about the Lady Gogga, Justin Bibber, and New Jersey Shore, so pretend that you are too.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Video, Going straight to

Librarians should occasionally record video of themselves conducting a reference interview so that they can evaluate and improve their skills at the reference desk. Before you record yourself answering the question, politely ask the patron to wait a moment while you apply your make-up, do a sound check, and take a light reading.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Restrooms, Gendering

When an androgynous patron asks you to point him or her to the library's restroom, librarians can avoid any awkwardness by...
  • Giving them directions to the "family" restroom.
  • Saying, "Our restrooms are closed for cleaning."
  • Mumbling something about a jammed printer and running away.
  • Pulling the fire alarm.
  • Handing them a paper cup and saying, "Just use this."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coffee, Making

A polite librarian should never empty the library's staff coffee pot.  Always leave one half-cup warming so that a coworker can get the pleasure of sifting the burned dregs through her teeth as she makes a fresh pot for you to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Animated, Being

When interviewing for a library job, applicants should demonstrate their "excellent interpersonal skills" by talking like a robot and gesticulating wildly.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Current, Keeping it

Librarians should expedite the processing of books with short lifespans.  New textbooks, computer software manuals, and anything about social media should be cataloged upon arrival and immediately weeded to make room for something more current.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Up, Catching

Always assume that your library coworkers want the short version of your answer to the obligatory question, "How was your holiday break?"

Some sample short answers that will suffice:
  • "Okay."
  • "Pretty good."
  • "Too short."
  • "Kind of sad... my _____ died."
  • "I'm an atheist."
Ask the readers: How was your holiday break?