If you’ve been keeping up with my blog (or keeping up with me in some other fashion), you’ll know I’ve spent the last few months working at my local library. It’s pretty fantastic. I’m surrounded by books all day, I see whatever new things come in, and I don’t have the temptation to buy them because it’s a LIBRARY and not a book store.
But not every part of my job is the stuff my 5 year-old dreams were made of. Why? Because…people.
(I feel it’s here I should note that these are MY views and not those of my employer. Right?)
Anyway, I just wanted to do a quick update on five ways that you, as the valued patrons, can keep your librarians happy.
1. Take care of your books.
Every librarian I know personally LOVES books, because otherwise, why take the job? So when you bring books back that are damaged or ill-used, we get a bit upset. You may not be charged for them, but from then on, you’re known as the person who ruined some great piece of literature.
2. Own up to your fines and fees.
I have a lot more respect for the person who damages a book, owns up to it, and actually pays for the item than for people who bring in the book and say “It was this way when I got it” when that is clearly NOT how you got it. (Of course, there are some instances when the damage is minor and you might have actually gotten it that way, but we usually try to note that.)
3. Don’t shelve the books.
This seems counter-intuitive, but here’s the deal: if you don’t know the exact spot you got the book, don’t put it somewhere else. Take it to the front desk, say that you decided not to get the book, and let the librarian put it back. It might seem like you’re creating more work for them, but if you put it in the wrong place, it’s not only extra work but more difficult to find when someone else needs it.
Also, for the love of all that is holy, please please PLEASE do not shelve the books with their pages facing out. Just…why?
4. Be mindful of library hours.
Don’t try to come into the library an hour early. If there’s a librarian there, he or she is trying to get the place ready for the day. And, just like you wouldn’t go into a store five minutes before they’re due to close, don’t go into a library “to browse” right before closing. If you know what you want, if you’re returning something, if you’re picking up a book on hold, five minutes is fine. Otherwise, give yourself ample time to explore. (Likewise, if you’re in the library and have picked a lot of books, give your librarian enough time to check them out before closing.)
5. Let us know what you think.
Like I said before, most librarians are there because they like books. So if you’ve just read something you thought was amazing, feel free to share! They might get a new favorite book out of the deal. Or, if they’d already read it and know something similar, you might get a new book to read too! It’s a win-win situation really.