Excerpt: Just Another Day at Your Local Public Library: An Insider’s Tales of Library Life by Roz Warren

About the Book:

HumorOutcasts Press

Library humorist Roz Warren, author of the popular Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection of Library Humor, is back with a new book about the joys and challenges of library life, Just Another Day at Your Local Library: An Insider’s Tales of Library Life. Roz, whose work has appeared everywhere from The Funny Times to The New York Times, will make you smile, laugh out loud and maybe even groan with disbelief as she shares her real-life stories about what goes on behind the scenes at your local public library.

What really happens behind the circulation desk? And in the stacks? And what does your favorite librarian REALLY think of you? Roz, who has been featured on both Morning Edition and The Today Show, tells all! What’s the nuttiest excuse ever given for returning a book late? The most shocking sight captured by a library security camera? The funniest location a misplaced DVD has been found? What simple thing can you do to make a librarian’s day? In twenty-six entertaining essays, you’ll meet librarians looking for love, coping with challenging patrons, dreaming impossible dreams, finding amazing surprises in the book drop and saving lives. The most closely guarded library secrets will be revealed. You’ll never look at your local public library the same away again!

Read an Excerpt:

Featured in June/July 2017 Issue: Welcome to the Library

I love my library job, but sometimes our patrons make it tougher than it needs to be. I recently asked my fellow librarians to help me create a “wish list” of things, big and small, serious and frivolous, that you can do to make your favorite librarian happy.

So what can you do, as a member of the library-going public, to help us better serve our patrons and enjoy our jobs?

1) Greet me before launching into your request. You don’t have to ask how I am. Just say “Hello.”

2) Your library card? Don’t leave home without it. 

3) Return everything on time, or pay your fines with a smile.

4) Please keep the phone calls, food and drama outside.

5) Push in your chair after you use the computer. 

6) Don’t come to the library if you have a contagious illness. We love our patrons, but not their colds. 

7) Put away your phone when you’re talking to me. 

8) Don’t toss your trash in the book drop. 

9) Say “please” and “thank-you.”

10) Keep in mind that librarians are only human. When we make mistakes, don’t scream at us. Instead, try to be forgiving. 

11) Moms and nannies? Stop gabbing with each other during Story Time. Enjoy the songs, stories and rhymes with your children. 

12) Learn to use the catalog computer. 

13) Wait your turn instead of interrupting when I’m helping somebody else. 

14) Please don’t look at porn on our computers. 

15) Don’t snap your fingers to get my attention. I’m not a dog. 

16) Let us know how the babies and toddlers we sang to at Story Time are doing now that they’ve grown. We love to hear about them. 

17) Never apologize for bothering me with a reference question. It’s not a bother. It’s my job. 

18) Don’t go ballistic when we won’t let you check material out without your library card or identification. 

19) Supervise your kids. Don’t let them run wild. This is a library, not a playground. 

20) This isn’t Match.com. Stop hitting on library staff. 

21) Don’t slip the book Fido chewed up in to the book drop and hope we don’t notice the damage. Fess up. Say “My Labradoodle ruined this book and I’d like to pay for it.” 

22) Please refrain from discussing your religious or political beliefs with me. 

23) Ask with a fully formed question. Don’t just walk up to the reference desk and blurt out “London” or “Aztecs.”

24) Don’t ever call me “girl.”

25) Bathe. And for the love of Pete, please brush your teeth before leaning in to ask me a reference question. 

26) Don’t ask me to show you how to use the photocopier when what you really want is for me to do your photocopying for you. 

27) Please please please don’t attempt to re-shelve the books! That’s our job and we’re happy to do it. 

28) Don’t wear so much perfume. I can’t assist you if I can’t breathe. 

29) Don’t use risqué photos, strips of bacon, cigarette butts or unused condoms as bookmarks. 

30) Communicate with me using words, not grunts or blank stares. 

31) Don’t cough all over your library card and then hand it to me. 

32) Don’t come into the library unless you’re at least kind of sober. 

33) Before you glare at me for talking too loudly to a patron, consider that the patron I’m talking to might be hard of hearing. 

34) Clean up after yourself when you leave. Don’t make us pick up your dirty tissues, candy wrappers and coffee cups. 

35) Don’t expect me to bend the rules for you (or curse at me when I won’t).

36) Don’t try to apply for a new library card two minutes before we close.

37) Don’t steal our DVDs.

38) Leave promptly at closing time. Don’t make us wait around while you finish your last-minute photocopying. 

39) Be kind to both library staff and library materials. 

40) Write the library a check during our fund drive, advocate for library funding, tell everyone how much you love the library and come back often. We wouldn’t be here without you. 

And if you take the trouble to bake us a batch of cookies, send us a holiday card or write us a thank you note, it will make our day. 

From Just Another Day at Your Local Public Library: An Insider’s Tales of Library Life by Roz Warren, HumorOutcasts Press. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. 

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