Review – I Work At A Public Library

I Work at a Public Library – Gina Sheridan

Adams Media, 2014

Life as a librarian is anything but quiet. From helping to find the right book to explaining the intricacies of the digital world, dealing with bizarre questions (“did someone hand in a wetsuit?”) and handling confrontational patrons (“I insist you read it. Insist!”), this collection of true anecdotes from library staff proves it takes a lot of diplomacy – not to mention a good poker face – to stand behind the counter.

I Work at a Public Library is a short assortment of stories from various libraries, but mostly focused on U.S. librarian Gina Sheridan’s experiences. As an Australian, some anecdotes didn’t entirely make sense to me, but most of it was funny and all too believable. Sheridan blogs more stories on her Tumblr here.

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P.S. A Blessing on All Libraries

Having just posted about my many technological woes, I have instantly acquired more! This one requires a tiny bit of explanation. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it. Mostly, I don’t either.

The main computer I work on (not the one that died and lost me my internet, that was a creative arrangement organised by my brother that required multiple screens and lots of power cords to keep an entirely different device alive) is a laptop of Very Distinguished Age. Half as old as I am, or thereabouts, and it looks it – there are keys missing, the edges are worn dark where my elbows have rubbed over the years, there’s a discoloured strip down the side of the screen – but I don’t care. It’s my laptop. I love it. The day I have to stop using it, I will grieve.

Anyway, this laptop is NOT connected to the internet. We didn’t have internet at home for quite some time after it was given to me, and by the time that seemed like a good idea, updating would have been torturously awkward, plus I didn’t actually need updates for what I do. I write on my laptop. That’s more or less our entire relationship. It’s lovely.

Unfortunately, now the briefcase folder I made on that laptop to keep all my files synced is misbehaving on other computers because apparently I do not have permission to use everything on it. DO NOT ASK ME WHY. I made it? I am the only person who uses it? Also, I am using library internet when I find this out, have four minutes left on my session time and am trying very hard not to burst into violent coughing. The reason I did not start crying from pure frustration is because a librarian came over, figured out what was wrong, showed me how to fix it and extended my session time so I could finish my work without further stress. When the briefcase enacted a new and exciting block, a second librarian came over and fixed it again. My work got done. My sanity was preserved.

Librarians of the world, bless you all.