Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Why Are Libraries Important and More: An Autocomplete Survey

Abby Hargreaves

Staff Writer

Abby Hargreaves is a New Hampshire native living and working as a Children’s Librarian in Washington, D.C. She fulfills the gamut of the librarian stereotype with a love of cats, coffee, and crocheting (and likes a good run of alliteration). Her MLIS degree enjoys the company of a BA in English from Hollins University, making Abby an advocate of women's universities. Her favorite color is yellow.

You know those celebrity videos by WIRED where they have a cute little poster with questions from Google’s autocomplete? I was curious about what Google wanted to know about libraries and libraries. Then, I wanted to answer those questions. Find out all you ever wanted to know about libraries and librarians below, and rest assured these are answered by a real, live librarian. (The librarian will also be speaking on behalf on the library, as libraries are sadly not sentient. At least, I don’t think they are.) So, if you want to know, for example, “Why are libraries important?” read on.

Why Are Libraries Important

Why Are Libraries Important?

Libraries are important because they help societies work toward leveling the playing field. They provide free (and, yes, in some cases, low cost) materials and services. Given how all people, at least in the United States, are certainly not born into equal circumstances, this attempt at equality is massively important. Libraries aren’t perfect at this, but they generally make an attempt. And that’s important.


Why Are Libraries So Cold?

Libraries are cold so that librarians have a reason to have a sick cardigan collection.


Why Are Libraries Quiet?

Libraries are quiet? Mine certainly isn’t. Traditionally, libraries have been places of reading and study—two activities that are inherently quiet. But many libraries—public libraries, anyway—are now seen more like community hubs than funeral homes.


Why Are Libraries Important to a Community?

Well, depends on the individual community, I suppose. But, generally, see above.


Why Are Libraries Closed on Sundays?

Many aren’t! Those that are closed on Sundays may have determined it is not worth the money and staff hours it takes to be open on a day that few people in their community choose to visit the library. You should ask your library, though. It’s possible this is simply a leftover from a Christian-centric attitude and it maybe hasn’t occurred to them that Sunday hours is something their community wants.


Why Are Libraries Closed Today?

Dunno. What’s today? Is it a holiday? Library staff like occasional days off, too.


Why Are Libraries So Quiet?

See above.


Why Are Libraries Closing?

I don’t actually hear about this too often, thankfully, but those that do close are usually suffering from a lack of funding. You should elect local officials who are committed to libraries and funding them. You could also make a point of joining your library Friend’s group or donating to them. A little from everyone adds up! Perhaps the larger crisis is a lack of funding for school libraries and librarians. Don’t forget them when you’re advocating for public libraries.


Why Are Libraries Popular?

Two words: Free. Stuff.


Why Are Libraries Free?

Tax dollars and grants make funding libraries possible so that subscription payments, as were common in the past, are not necessary most of the time. Some libraries also create a bit of revenue through overdue book fines (though, to be honest, library fines are problematic). Libraries are important and a public good, like public schools. Plus, since the idea is to share the books, many people can make use of one item rather than buy one. Even if they were paying directly (as opposed to through taxes) by the use, it would be way cheaper. But, if you want to give me money, I won’t say no.

Why Are Librarians

Why Are Librarians So Rude?

Excuse you? In all seriousness, librarians are often underpaid and overworked in libraries that are understaffed. They work with the public all day long. At some point, that shiny customer service demeanor is going to break. But we try our best, I promise.


Why Are Librarians Important?

Librarians are important because they assist in learning, have super researching skills, and can help you determine what sources are most credible. They also can teach lots of non-book-related skills or facilitate a place where you can learn those skills. Many librarians are great at promoting early literacy and social skills in children, too. The better question is: why aren’t librarians important? (Answer: No reason. We are infinitely important.)


Why Are Librarians So Hot?

I mean. Thanks, I guess? But please don’t proposition your librarian. Honestly, I suspect this comes down to librarianship being traditionally something women do and the stereotypes associated with librarianship (order, discipline, uptightness—none of which is necessarily accurate to any one individual) are fetishized. You do the math.


Why Are Librarians Paid So Much?



Seriously? I mean, I guess if you come upon a librarian who is paid “so much” it’s because their employer values them and their work and recognizes that master’s degrees aren’t cheap (most librarians have/are required to have master’s degrees). These might also be librarians in the private sector.


Why Are Librarians So Weird?

Librarians should be somewhat representative of the community they serve. People are weird. Ergo, librarians are weird.


Why Are Librarians Blue?

Because you didn’t return your book on time. Because they had to clean up urine in the elevator—again. Because the toddlers are coughing on them at story time. Take your pick.


If by “blue,” you mean Democratic-leaning, libraries are naturally democratic institutions. They are not neutral. They are champions for the disenfranchised and the disadvantaged. At least, in theory. Just like the Democratic Party. In theory.


Why Are Librarians So Strict?

In pursuit of making a space that is comfortable for all, sometimes we have to observe seemingly strict rules and policies to ensure that space is accessible for all. So, we might ask you not to eat your stinky tofu in the library so others can enjoy a fragrant-free space. We might ask you to stop screaming so others can enjoy an inside-voice-level space. We might ask you to return your books on time so others may use them. It’s all in the spirit of ensuring the greatest amount of access for all.


Why Are Librarians So Cranky?

See: Why Are Librarians So Rude? and Why Are Librarians So Hot? and Why Are Librarians Paid So Much?


Why Librarians Are Awesome

Not a question, but sure, let’s roll with it. Librarians are awesome because we work toward information access and literacy for all! Remember that “information” is a broad term and might mean news, research, skills, community, and more.


Why Librarians Are The Best

Because I just spent an hour putting all these answers together for you for free. Nah, see Why Librarians Are Awesome. (And we think you’re the best, too!)


Want more great library content? Check out our library archives. And until next time, keep reading, keep questioning, keep on.