Being a librarian is a great job for someone who loves books, but a career in the library requires more than that. Librarians must be dedicated to curating and protecting the library’s collection, and at the same time, be an advocate for the public’s access to those materials. And it’s more than books, as public libraries lend out many other types of materials. They also work to promote public participation and literacy. Then there are all the smaller things you don’t know about a librarian’s work. Here’s a sample.
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5. THEY LOVE HELPING TO SETTLE A BET.
There’s a mundane occurrence to delight every librarian. “Especially if there are language barriers, I love when someone musters the courage to ask me a question and we can go back and forth to make sure I connect them to the right resources,” Krakowski says. For Paolini, it’s when “someone comes in nervous, expecting us to be mean, then they tell me, ‘You guys are so nice … and I didn’t know you had e-books!”
But Paolini’s favorite thing of all is getting a call at the phone reference desk from a sports bar where two buddies are arguing over player stats: “I’m like, ‘This is great that you’re calling the library to settle a bet!’”
9. THEY WISH YOU WOULDN’T USE BACON AS A BOOKMARK …
Librarians find all kinds of objects wedged between the pages of books—$100 bills, Broadway tickets, condoms, paychecks, love letters, drugs, hatchets, knives, and even a vial labeled “smallpox sample.” Messiest of all, though, might be the food left in books, like crumbled Cheetos, slices of pickles, and whole strips of bacon (both cooked and raw).
Read the rest of the 19 secrets of public librarians at Mental Floss.