The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

27 July 2012

From your librarian

Dear library patron,

Be kind to your librarian, she works hard, responds to diverse and pressing demands, didn’t sleep well the night before, and just found out her secret stash of chocolate has been discovered.

When you would like her help to book computer time, don’t grunt in the direction of the work stations, tossing your card on the desk, but speak your request out loud. Saying please works wonders. A smile takes it right over the edge – at this point she would be willing to share her chocolate with you.

When you are waiting your turn for her attention, don’t tap your foot impatiently while she helps the seven year old boy figure out which is the Captain Underpants book he hasn’t yet read – and then proceed to lay out your life story before asking where the computer games are while three people wait their turn behind you. She doesn’t need to know about your plantar warts, and she will always, always side with the adorable seven year old boy.

When she announces the library is closing in five minutes, she means it. It’s been a long, chocolate-less day in which she has directed 27 people to the washrooms, shown 13 little people where the graphic novels are, explained to 9 irate mothers that the children’s computers are first come first served, and walked about 17 miles between the stacks and her desk. Now is not the time to register for the summer reading program and then find the urgently needed book on the future of English as the global language for that report due tomorrow. The library always closes at 8 on a Tuesday night folks, and no, you are not special enough for us to ‘just this once’ keep everything going for an extra 15 minutes.

If you ask for her help, hovering over her shoulder, offering suggestions isn’t really helping.

Your friendly librarian doesn’t know every author, so be understanding when she has to look up the name of the obscure fella who writes about mice having tea parties in iambic pentameter. She will also need some time to discover in which of Spencer Tracy’s movies does he call a boy ‘little fish’. She may also not know the name of that book your Aunt Phyllis enjoyed so much. You know, the one with the blue cover? She is not a tax specialist, a social networking guru, a technical savant, or a meteorologist. She does, however, delight in finding answers and helping people find what they’re looking for. What you are seeing, up close and personal, is the very human means by which she does her job. And sometimes, though it pains her to say so, the answer is “No, we don’t have the entire collection of Welcome back Kotter on dvd.

Best regards,
Librarian Tess


  1. I smiled as I read this. I avoid our librarians like the plague because they are often unpleasant and unhelpful - too busy logging in returned books and playing solitaire to be of much assistance.

    Our volunteer book shelvers are much more friendly and helpful.

    So at least YOU'RE approachable!!!

  2. Boo to the solitaire playing book logger inners! I'm sorry they don't treat you well. Come to my library and I'll find you every Berenstain Bears book we have.