Party Girl’s Guide to Library Science

S. Zainab Williams

Executive Director, Content

S. Zainab would like to think she bleeds ink but the very idea makes her feel faint. She writes fantasy and horror, and is currently clutching a manuscript while groping in the dark. Find her on Twitter: @szainabwilliams.

Like unicorns and jackelopes, librarians are mythical creatures to the reader. I (perhaps more than I should admit) have only the vaguest understanding of their work. My sister has been a librarian for years and I still have no idea what she does all day. The foundation of my insight into the cryptic art of library science is spun whole cloth from that dated, though enduring, ’90s Parker Posey indie flick, Party Girl.

With this thought-provoking and club-kid-friendly movie in mind, let’s take a look behind the scenes at a day in the life of a librarian.

Face down that old horror Melvil Dewey, but never before a strong cup of coffee and never by looking him directly in the eyes. What kind of sadist beats word lovers over the head with numbers anyway? Recite the first 100 digits of pi in preparation for the day’s work.

Your library is skidding down the final frontier of card catalogs, headed for the cliff’s edge. Much of your morning is spent enduring water cooler talk and public shaming directed at anyone who dares miscategorize a card. You should have made time for a falafel with extra hot sauce, a side order of baba ganoush, and a seltzer. Maybe you can cry hypoglycemia and be sent home.

It seems hypoglycemia is only good for getting you a pack of years-old candy corn from the last Halloween party anyone cared to throw. Now that you’re “all better”/don’t want anymore processed and thumbed sugar boogers stuffed down your gullet, you can work your way through the defiled shelves. Forever. And ever. Who needs a lunch break?

Wait a second…

When did you ever let the man get you down? You know how to have fun, and what’s more fun than books and organization? You’ll show them–you’re Parker Posey, damn it!

Who are they to tell you how to handle a book?

And file cards?


Being a vengeful (and light-footed) librarian is hard work; and you have had a particularly long, strenuous day after all…

Go on then. Vogue it out.