Our Reading Lives

Wait, There’s Not a Rolling Library Ladder?: One Librarian’s Reality Check

I know I’m not the only one who loves hearing and reading about librarian confessions and those hilarious horror stories witnessed between the shelves of a public library.

One of my first “real”  jobs was working as a reference librarian in the middle of America, and to keep it completely one-hundred with you (in my experience) it wasn’t all I’d cracked it up to be. Granted, I’d conjured up images of gilded globes, wrought-iron balconies, marble columns, mahogany book shelves, and a baroque fresco ceiling illuminated by warm golden dust-filled sunlight dancing through stained-glass panels. There was a rolling ladder in my dreams, too, obviously.

Reality: Defunct bazillion square foot antique warehouse converted to city library. Industrial mass-produced metal bookcases, and fizzling fluorescent tube lighting. My days were filled watching for perverts on the public computers trying to access porn and attempting to convince patrons that I was not legally able or qualified to advise on filling out their divorce paperwork.

“Are you sure there’s not a single library ladder here, even in the local history and genealogy department?”

In retrospect I may have set the bar a wee bit high. What can I say, I’m a dreamer. While I am no longer a librarian I must say that my time in the profession was enlightening. I had some great colleagues and learned a lot, not only about librarianship, but of myself. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of that dreamy idyllic library in my mind’s eye and flirt with the idea of pursuing a MLS degree. I peruse programs and course descriptions and map the distance from our house to say the Stift Admont Library in Austria or the Strahov Library in Prague.

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