Seattle's famous librarian, Nancy Pearl
Librarians work harder than most patrons and non-patron realize. We often spend most (if not all) of our day "on desk" answering reference questions and helping patrons find what they need while planning programs and ordering materials for the library's collection. We're good at what we do and we love what we do.
I took an informal poll from librarians I know in Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, New York City, and Portland about what they wish library patrons knew or did. The following list is what they came up with. (Note: they're not disgruntled, they just want to be able to provide the best customer service to patrons possible.)
20. Enough with the "sexy librarian" jokes. We've heard them all before. Be original and tell us a new (clean) joke. You have a better chance of making us laugh this way.
19. Ask us for what you really want, Please be specific! If you (or your child) need materials on how American pioneers lived while on the Oregon Trail, don't ask where the "history section" is. Of course, a good librarian will ask you questions to narrow it down.
18. Ask us what we read. It's in our job description to be avid readers. We're supposed to give recommendations to our patrons. Plus we love to talk about books. Please ask us what we're reading or what you should read next. Who knows, you could wind up with a new favorite author.
17. Do not leave your child (or children) unattended- for their safety. This includes when you're on a computer or at work or running errands. Librarians have too much on their plate to babysit in addition to their regular workload. Plus we might not know you or your child well enough to know if they are going home with a family member or stranger. You wouldn't leave your child alone at the mall or a park would you? Stranger Danger exists everywhere, so please keep an eye on your kid as you use the library.
16. Come to our programs! They are free entertainment for the whole family, which is especially great during the current economic crisis. We work hard to plan lecture series, author visits, video game programs, movie nights, book clubs, and knitting circles. We'll continue to have cutting edge and entertaining programs as long as you keep coming. Besides, high attendance at programs makes the library look good (and while you are there, why not check out a book?). If a library draws huge program numbers it is likely to continue to receive funding from the town or city to continue doing them.