This week, I thought I’d dive back into the bottomless pit of, “did you learn that in library school?”. If you’ve missed any previous posts on the series, be sure to check them out:
- Part One: The Basics We Don’t Learn
- Part Two: Customer Service
- Part Three: Legal and Practical Sides
- Part Four: Resumes and Coworkers
- Part Five: How to Be a Manager
Only this time around, I’d shake things up and asked YOU the librarians for input. I reached out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to ask: What’s the one thing you’ve learned working in a library you didn’t think you’d learn?
Boy, did y’alls answer range. You did not disappoint! Let’s get right into it, shall we?
Some of you went for the more technical route:
Don’t be afraid to use the Delete button.
Avoid teen projects involving glitter if you want to stay on good terms with the custodial staff.
Old people: Don’t know how to print, but do know how to use a stapler. College students: vice versa.
How to pull paper out of a copier without getting covered in toner.
A few responses were a bit more library related:
Reading is hard. Particularly signage or directions.
We hate fines more than you do.
That even with a careful, precise system for keeping track of books, you will still have a surprising amount of books inexplicably go missing.
How to smile, nod, and say “I don’t think that’s an actual thing, but I’ll look.”
What the teacher ACTUALLY assigned and what you are TOLD that the teacher assigned, are rarely the same.
Some of you went straight into the gross stuff:
The bathroom will *always* smell.
If it looks like poop, it probably is!
If it’s wet and not yours, don’t touch it.
Do not reach into anything you can’t see into.
People can make a bathroom out of any piece of furniture.
Some of y’all were just random and made me wonder:
How to spell “Stiefvater.”
Toddlers are stronger than you think.
When you say “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”, and they proceed to tell you the three ways to skin a cat.
Don’t use powdered spill cleaner (the stuff that soaks up biohazards!), on carpets. Ever. Just use paper towels to soak up the liquid, and wipe with lots of cleaner.
How to type without a keyboard. Desperate times, man.
Learning which schools give you the best swag for showing up on Career Day.
A few responses were a bit more philosophical:
A little kindness goes a long way.
Most of the things I screw up, I can fix. But only if I remember to slow down for a minute, take a deep breath, and think.
ALWAYS ask. Doesn’t matter what it is.
Compassion and respect are the keys to authentic connection.
And finally, my personal favorite:
The hidden first question in any patron interaction is, “Is this person’s need informational or emotional?” Knowing the answer will save you a ton of grief.
Which ones did you like? Which ones didn’t you like? Let me know in the comment below! If you’d like to have your name featured, be sure to follow on social media!
Until next time,
Justin Brash, Brash Librarian