Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ten Simple Rules for Librarians

Thanks to Joanne Ladewig (a.k.a. "Library Lady"), Library Media Tech from Garden Grove, California for this post:

In 1907, there was in the Long Beach public library, a “Guide for Female Librarians.” It stated ten simple rules for librarians to follow:

Do not get married.

Do not leave town without Library Board permission.

Do not keep company with men.

Be home between the hours of 8pm and 6am.

Do not smoke or imbibe.

Do not loiter around ice cream shops.

Do not dress in bright colors.

Do not dye you hair.

Do not wear any dress more than 2” above the ankle.

Do not get into any carriage with any man except your father or brother.”[1]

While this seems absurd to us now, it was the rules of the times.


[1] Card from Long Beach Public Library’s clippings file Public Library-1900’s


One hundred years later, I think it's fair to say that these rules are in need of a serious update. For those librarians who are reading this, please comment here about what you think are the top ten rules that all librarians (male or female) should follow.

6 comments:

Sarah The Anime Librarian said...

Here are my personal (para) librarian rules:

(1) Read something every week that you normaly wouldn't.

(2) Get that Tattoo you always wanted.

(3) Dress to make yourself feel great when your on the job!

(4) Proudly display your action figures on your desk.

(5) Drive into and out of work playing your favorite music,and if its rock, then turn it up!

(6) Read at least 2 comics every morning.Suggestion: Dilbert and Unshelved are great for librarians.

(7) When a patron is unreasonable, wave a hand in front of them with a smile and say "I'm not the librarian you're looking for."

(8) Get married if you want, and then bring home lots of books for your beloved to enjoy with you.

(9) Always get your boss the superhero cake topper for their birthday.

(10) Have a theme song and play it at least once a day.

(11) Try talking to teens. Even for a few minutes and listen to what they say. You might be really surprised at how much fun they can be.

(12) Everything is better when you add monkeys.

Sondra Santos LaBrie said...

Sarah -

Thanks for sharing your list. I love #10 especially!

Liz B said...

Hhmmm.... what rules to add? I like what Sarah put down. How about:

1. Have fun.
2. Ask your library customers what their favorite book is and read it.

Mags said...

Assuming we're talking Public Libraries, here are my 10

1) you have to like people, technology, and books.

2) Hope that you have a Board of Directors that you can work with; find ways to work with them. If you can't, move on.

3) BE ACTIVE in your community. Join Rotary, network with other not-for-profits, get to know how your community works. You never know who you could meet that might make a positive change for your library.

4) you really need to know all the media (books, magazines, e-books, databases, playalongs, e-readers, DVDs, games, video games) that could be in your collection, and if it should be in your collection

5) have an iron skin - or fake an iron skin and cry later

6) Keep learning! Even if it's an obscure hobby nobody else might be interested in, don't stop learning. Keeping your brain agile is important. Working the reference desk is a good second choice.

7) Love teaching - that is, and hopefully always will be a mission-critical skill

8) learn to make money out of thin air, with no resources, little support, and lots of brain sweat. These are called grants, and a good grant writer is worth their weight in gold.

9) Be seen places like health fairs, Carnivals, etc - promote your library as a brand. Get people used to seeing your library's name in places.

10) Learn to be politically savvy; your local Politicians may not have been in a library for YEARS, so you'll get screwed on funding unless you can court them successfully. Maybe one or two could BE on your BOD. Barring all else, communicate your needs, couched in terms that they understand and care about, so you'll at least be considered.

Laura Lutz said...

Fabulous! I've broken EVERY one of those rules!

I particularly loved Sarah's #7...I snorted out loud at my desk.

Sondra Santos LaBrie said...

Rules are meant to be broken, right, Laura? ;)