Monday, December 19, 2005


Anonymous said...
Is there a reason you all think you're extra smart just because you work in libraries?

I feel the need to respond to this question. The comment was in response to a post discussing/snarking against the stereotype of librarians being considered nerdy. I probably did come off sounding smarter than thou, but that is not the case.

I'm an idiot. Have proven this on numerous occasions, but I feel confident in answering someone’s reference question, not because I'll know the answer, but because I have several million dollars worth of resources available at my fingertips, and the odds are that I'll stumble across the answer. I don't know the answer, but I am willing to help find it. I won't claim to always find a satisfactory answer for the patron, but I make a go of it.

This doesn’t mean I’m extra smart. Remember when the book cart attacked me? Do I need to say more? Okay, I once put the wrong key in a conference room lock and got the key stuck so badly, locksmiths had to be called while a group waited to get into the room to have a meeting. The group was a bunch of library very higher ups. Yeah, I felt really smart that day.

Once I left a couple of printouts in the printer from Pirates of the Caribbean website. There was this amusing game to make up pirate names so there were a couple of printouts with “Captain Scalawag Vampire Librarian” but with my real name. So yeah, that was smart.

I’ve misshelved books. I’ve forgotten to desensitize them until the patron set off the gates. I always have to pull out a campus map when someone asks where any of the other university libraries are located, even if it’s one I’ve been to before. I drop things a lot. I’m constantly forgetting where I left my soda or coffee cup. Don’t ask me how to spell something. I have to count on my fingers.

So no, I don’t think I’m extra smart. I know otherwise. I just think I can find an answer quicker than the average person. Not because I’m smarter but because I don’t know much and have to look up stuff often for others and for myself.


Blogger The Library Guy said...

Arrr... Mayhaps I not be the best person to comment since I have passed the Jeopardy contestant test a couple times, but me thinks that my work in a library doesn't mean I be extra smart.

There's more than book-learnin' ye know. Seamanship, for instance.

12:42 PM, December 20, 2005  
Blogger Spike said...

Yer way smarter than peeps who email other peeps to express their sour grapes. Even with the Pirates of the Caribbean printer incident.

Hope that makes sense. I can't tell as I was woken up at 4.30 by some dickhead screeching in the street because he couldn't find his beer. It was in his hand.

9:23 PM, December 20, 2005  
Blogger MadameBoffin said...

Someone should tell the anonymous bonehead that it ain't that hard to look smart when the majority of customers are so stupid. :)

8:51 PM, December 21, 2005  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

I think I should clarify the title. I'm the bonehead, not the commenter.

11:37 AM, December 22, 2005  
Blogger Chuck said...

Shit like that makes me crazy sometimes. I think librarians are often too self-effacing about their education and skills.

I tend to be more aggressive and arrogant about my abilities just because I'm tired of being the red-headed stepchild of the professional world. The world worships lawyers and engineers and treats librarians, nurses and teachers like maids. I say fuck that.

It's just a pet peeve of mine and one I overreact to. It's not an indictment of your modesty and I mean no disrespect. Funny post, by the way.

9:54 AM, December 23, 2005  
Blogger disgruntled world citizen said...


12:06 AM, December 28, 2005  
Blogger Junebugg said...

One of my teachers used to say that "A person who's mouth was constantly open has an empty mind".
Sometimes people don't know any way to build themselves up other than to appempt to stand on someone else's shoulders.

Came by way of Glitter and stopped to visit. Excellent site.

2:59 AM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Happy Villain said...

I get these critics too and it just makes me want to scream.

Librarians are mysterious creatures, gatekeepers to knowledge and power, with an eerie other-worldly aura, who don't have opinions or feelings. Gag, retch!

So, when some celebrity pokes fun at us, we're supposed to smile demurely and thank her kindly for acknowledging our existence? No way!

I think your commenter had an inferiority complex. And I think it had nothing to do with you. Don't take it personally.

3:34 AM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Tired Tunia said...

Come on, admit it! We are smarter than a lot of our patrons! But I think that anyone that works with the public could probably say that :-) I just love it when people are just so shocked and happy when you walk over to the shelf and find something for them -- like it is a magic trick that *gasp* I knew where the Harry Potter books were without having to look it up! Like I'm brilliant or something. Like your post, first time I've been to your blog.

2:10 AM, December 31, 2005  
Blogger SpookyRach said...

Love your post!

Thrilled with your smartness!

8:12 AM, January 01, 2006  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

So many new people! Welcome! I hope to read more of your comments.

Library Guy - You're the exception that proves the rule--or something.

Spike - "I was woken up at 4.30 by some dickhead screeching in the street because he couldn't find his beer. It was in his hand."--You poor dear, but at least, there weren't gunshots, unlike what I heard at 12:45am last night. Hearing a lonely gunshot in the middle of the night in a small far to common.

Madame Boffin - You're preaching to the choir.

Chuck - Your comment was very touching profanity aside.

Disgruntled World Citizen - I'm glad I made you chuckle.

Junebugg - Welcome and I'm glad you liked the post. I have another saying for you, "A full mouth gathers no foot." Free food is constantly available in Library X.

Happy Villian - Love your blog. I wasn't offended by the commenter. I fully believe that I was on a high horse in that post and subsequent comments, and the commenter was making an honest observation of my tone.

Tired Tunia - Yeah, finding a book where it's supposed to be is a pretty amazing feat.

spookyrach - Why thank you!

7:45 PM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger CogSci Librarian said...

I'm with Chuck; I *do* think I'm smarter than my patrons, at least when it comes to library research. When they say "wow, you know a lot" or some other admiring comment about my skills, I say "thank you, I went to graduate school to learn this."

I'm tired of people thinking we're just shmucks who search Google all the time. I want to get credit for my MLS and my advanced searching skills.

If they seem impressed with what I do, and "get it" (like truncation or nested boolean searching), I suggest *they* might want to consider going to library school.

6:27 PM, April 08, 2006  

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