Guestpost #38: Kjell Cawsey – Ten things I’ve learned from working in a library

Kjell Cawsey does not have enough degrees to be a librarian. She’s originally from Victoria and is adjusting to Toronto while pursuing one of those degrees she’s heard so much about. She likes theatre, dance parties, and sharing baked goods. You can check her out as 1/6 of the ITC improv team Betty.

  1. People expect you to have read everything/know everything. All the classics, and all the new release bestsellers. It’s disheartening having to tell someone you’re not actually familiar with the book they’re talking about, or that it’s not actually a job requirement to read every single book/know everything off hand.
  2. Librarians are intensely educated. They have to have an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences. That is an actual job requirement. Most of them have a couple master’s degrees and have achieved success in their area of specialty before becoming librarians. They’re useful people to know.
  3. People steal paper out of printers and photocopiers. They’ll steal whatever, but blank paper seems like a weird choice.
  4. After you tell them you work in a library, many men will glaze over a bit as they’re imagining you take off your glasses and shake your hair free from a bun. If it’s a man you’re trying to flirt with, it’s a little disappointing if he doesn’t.
  5. People who can’t afford to hang out anywhere else hang out in libraries. It’s a safe, warm place with bathrooms.
  6. People love having someone new to speak to about their research. I’m happy to be that person. It’s always interesting to hear someone speak passionately about something they’re fascinated by.
  7. Couples do actually hook up in the stacks.
  8. If someone has borrowed a book in the past and they want to borrow it again, they will inevitably describe it as having a blue cover if they can’t remember any of the bibliographic information. The scary thing is, is that sometimes I’ll actually know the book they’re talking about.
  9. Some people are terrified of computers and wish they hadn’t replaced card catalogues. This is irritating when it’s professors with huge entitlement complexes who can’t be bothered to attempt to learn basic computer skills because they think they’re too important to do something as menial as look up a book’s call number. It’s endearing when it’s someone who thinks computers are like magic and will try over and over again and laugh at their failures.
  10. Libraries are awesome. They’re full of things and people that might as well be magic because they can solve so many problems. Seriously! Just return your items by the due date, and don’t come whining to me about the fine if you don’t. Whiners are never in my good books.


Filed under tenthingsivelearned, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Guestpost #38: Kjell Cawsey – Ten things I’ve learned from working in a library

  1. Dan

    …in my good BOOKS!? Right?

  2. Glenda

    I work in a high school library and yes, both students and staff expect you to instantly recognize the title of a book and or its author. One of my pet peeves is that the grade eights boys and girls pull out the sex-ed books and I find them hidden all over in the library!

  3. Libraries are the loveliest places, full of books. I love books. Always have. xx

  4. I love libraries! It would be fun to work in a library.🙂

  5. I also worked at a library for years: High School, Community college, and public libraries. It is a great place to work at. It’s quiet (most of the time), peaceful, educational, and slow paced. I still love going to visit. I am a big reader.

  6. Delorfinde

    I love libraries. I’m the teenager you see in there on a Friday after school trying to balance ten books for long enough to get them to the self-service machine …

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