Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Things I Never Learned in Library School

Like most librarians, I stumbled into librarianship and worked as a paraprofessional for many years before getting my MLS.  I was very lucky in that I had an amazing mentor to help me in my journey.  But even with my MLS, there are things that come up that surprise and challenge me as a professional librarian.  In this look behind the scenes @ the library, we share some of our posts about the triumph and challenges of being librarians – the things we hate, and why we still love what we do!  These are the things we DIDN’T learn in library school.

Where’s My Library School Class for This? with Christie G.
Christie talks about the hard parts of working with teens, when bad things happen and teens just need a shoulder to cry on.

10 Things I Never Learned in Library School with Karen J.
I share with you 10 true stories that happened to me in the library that no amount of education would have prepared me for.

These are a Few of My Creepiest Things with Christie G.
Weird things happen when you work with the public.  Here Christie shares some of the things that have happened to her.

What They Didn’t Teach Me in Library School: Finding My Balance
When you work at a public library, you are called a public servant for a reason.  We work some stinky hours, forego elaborate raises and amenities, and spend a lot of our own money buying program supplies.  Not to mention all the time we spend reading to be better at our jobs – on our own time of course.  So here, Christie and I talk about trying to find a good work/life balance even when you are a dedicated professional.

Dirty Little Library Secrets: We Forgot to Tell the Staff Not to Ban the Books
In the desire to speak passionate about Intellectual Freedom, we had to share our experiences with book “banning” – which happens internally just as much as it does externally.

Dirty Little Library Secrets II: “I’m Not Buying That!” – Selection as Censorship
Deciding what to buy for your library is one of the most challenging parts of being a librarian; you have to know your market.  Sometimes, it is hard to get out of your own way and get past personal opinions and the fear of the censorship monster.

Building the Stacks: What I Wish Administrators, Publishers and Authors Knew About Collection Development
In a lot of ways, it seems like teen services are designed to fail, and it can be frustrating.  We often don’t get enough time, space, or money to do what we need to do successfully. This is one of the reasons why I speak strongly for internal advocacy as well as external advocacy.  Here, I share some of my experiences and wisdom (after 19 years I can say I have wisdom, right?) with administrators, publishers and authors.

What I Wish Library Patrons Knew
Thoughts on those every day interactions you have with your library patrons, and what I wish library patrons knew about the library.

When The Finances Hit the Fan
How the struggling economy affects libraries

A Tale of Two Libraries
Although libraries may reach them in different ways, but they have the same goals.

The Prediction Heard Round the World
Is 2013 the year we finally see the end of libraries? I don’t think so. Here’s why – and what everyone can do about it.

Weeping Over Weeding
Even though we need to weed, not everyone understands the why and how of why we do it, even staff.

Sexual Harassment in the library? It happens.

The Ins and Outs of Hiring Performers

Passive Programming in libraries, and why I prefer to call it “Self-Directed” Programming

Burnout Happens

Networking part 1 and part 2

Crafting Program Tips 

Thoughts From a Second Year Librarian (a guest post)

Changing Your Mindset, or how donating your time and money to help your library can often end up hurting it
A reminder to all of us that going above and beyond often means that communities and administrators don’t have a realistic picture of what all it takes exactly to make the library run effectively.

Why Turning Libraries into Wal Mart is a Bad Idea (aka Do We Still Need Reference? Do We Still Need Librarians?)

We’ll keep adding stories as we write them.  And please, feel free to share yours either in the comments or by e-mailing us and writing a guest blog post.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Being a reference librarian in a public library in the 60's was interesting. Most memorable was the day when a young man, high on something,removed all his clothes in the bathroom and proceeded to stroll through the adult and children's area.

    The librarian in charge tried to address the problem by wrapping him in the American flag, the only cloth she could find big enough to cover our “streaker.”

    He was told to leave, which he did, completely nude. On his way out, an older lady checkout clerk told him, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” One librarian, who didn't smoke, was so stressed he found a cigarette in a co-worker's desk and lit up, taking a long drag.

    What can I say- it was 1968 and Los Angeles County.

  2. I had some priceless and slighty amusing advice from an elementary library aide. Always hug high. If you put your head down near the child's, there is a chance you may end up with some creepy crawlies…head lice.

    Never heard that in library school!

  3. The things that happen in libraries! Karen

  4. Ewwwww . . . Karen (though probably good advice)

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