"I want to be a librarian because I love reading."

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"I want to be a librarian because I love reading."

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Jul. 29, 2007, 1:48am

Since beginning my MLS program two years ago, I've had the opportunity to talk to a number of people who are, themselves, considering getting an MLS (or the equivalent). I'm always happy to talk to such people and give them what advice and information I can, but I always cringe when any of them tell me the above (or some variation), because I think it's such a bad reason for becoming a librarian.

Don't get me wrong - I think that loving to read is a good quality in a librarian - but it doesn't seem like it should be the main reason one chooses the profession. (I don't know of any librarians who actually get to sit around and read all day, and the ones who do spend a fair amount of time reading don't get to choose the material.)

So, I was trying to come up with motivations that I think more realistically fit the work a librarian is likely to do. E.g. "I want to be a librarian because I love storytelling and working with kids." or "I want to be a librarian because I love organizing information and figuring out how to present it in an intuitive way." or "I want to be a librarian because I like working with people to help them find the resources they need."

What do you think? Do you agree? Are there any other motivations you could add to the list?

Jul. 29, 2007, 9:52am

I agree. While loving to read is nice, it shouldn't be the main motivation to be a librarian. I think that what you have listed for the realistic motivations are more relevant for the type of work most librarians do (I lean more towards the organizing and retrieval reason).

I can only think of another bad reason to become a librarian: because it's "hip". For the record I really don't care if being a librarian is "hip" or not since I place more value on *what* a librarian does and not what social status being a librarian gives you. Nonetheless, if it's the main reason why someone's becoming a librarian, then they need to rethink where they're going in life.

Jul. 29, 2007, 10:30am

Wow... Being a librarian is hip? The only job that I can think of that has less social status than being a teacher is being a school librarian. Even teachers look down on school media specialists.

Jul. 29, 2007, 10:34am

Well, I want to become a librarian and I do love reading! I work as a paraprofessional now and am almost done with my MLIS. Here are some of the real reasons I want to become a librarian: because it is a service profession and I enjoy working with people and helping them find the information they need; because I enjoy research; because I get to work with interesting, engaged, thoughtful, service-oriented people; because I enjoy the world of ideas. I'm sure I have some other reasons, but can't think of them off the top of my head. All I can say is that I wish I had pursued librarianship much earlier in my life because I love this work.

Jul. 29, 2007, 10:59am

3: That's what some people believe. I don't think these people are going into school library positions though.

Jul. 29, 2007, 11:09am

# 5
That still amazes me. I've never heard anyone refer to librarians as hip. Usually the old lady with the grey bun who shushes everyone is the description I hear.

Jul. 29, 2007, 11:15am

6: I've heard of that one as well. I guess I know the unusual people who think of hip instead of old lady shusher when I say librarian. *shrugs*

Jul. 29, 2007, 11:29am

Below is a New York Times article that talks about the hip status of the profession (free registration may be required):


Bearbeitet: Jul. 29, 2007, 12:21pm

re #4: I consider those excellent reasons to become a librarian!

I also cringe - visibly -- whenever someone conflates librarianship with a love of reading. I *wish* I had work time to read!

I became a librarian because I realized that teaching critical thinking was essential to the future, and my career path in academia wasn't going to allow me to do that. I became an academic librarian because I have spent my entire life on campus and can't imagine working in the Real World. I also enjoy and understand academic research, enjoy working with college students and faculty.

And, (ducking) I really did have an initial draw to the idea of always being surrounded by books.

Jul. 29, 2007, 1:01pm

Really interesting comments here. You are all right about the reading thing. I almost died when my prof announced that "librarans don't read" by that he ment they don't have time to read. You do that when you retire I guess. I love the idea of being on the inside of life by being a librarian. We have so much more access to information than the usual patron does and it's so great to share the ways and means of research with them. I feel that I have lived a broader life by being a librarian. Just my feeling, but also somewhat an impression I get talking to friends that aren't librarians.

Jul. 29, 2007, 5:41pm

>I became an academic librarian because I have spent my entire life on campus and can't imagine working in the Real World.

Sooo true. I'm going into academic librarianship because I love the rhythm and feel of college campuses (campi for the purists ;) ) and because I get to take free classes!

Jul. 29, 2007, 9:34pm

I don't think loving to read is a bad reason to be a librarian. Becoming a librarian because you think you'll get to read all day is a bad idea, but not because you love to read. Loving to read and wanting to "share the love," on the other hand, is a good reason. After all, can you imagine anybody who doesn't like to read making a good librarian?

I do often say that working in a library is kind of like being Tantalus.

Jul. 29, 2007, 10:17pm

Actually, I had a prof who said that if you are going to be a librarian you should try to read 100 books a year.

Jul. 29, 2007, 11:37pm

re #12/13: Maybe it's the difference between public/school and academic librarianship? I just don't think about my job as spreading the love of reading. Spreading the love of research, maybe. And of problem solving and critical thinking. Reading for pleasure just isn't an area of my job -- for me or my patrons. (which isn't to say that neither my patrons nor I read for pleasure -- just that it isn't within the scope of my library. we don't rent McNaughton's or buy 'pleasure' reading, the budget's too small)

Jul. 30, 2007, 12:58am

As a librarian in a "special" library, I have to say that the fact that I love to read is completely irrelevant and I'm fairly sure it wasn't a reason for joining the profession because I always aimed at technical services and spent years as a cataloguer and head of tech services in my special library before finally ending up as head librarian (more by default than anything, although I'm not too bad at it LOL) and now I do a lot of reference. I don't spread the love of reading - I find information for people. Sometimes before they even know they need it. It is extremely satisfying.

Jul. 30, 2007, 9:30am

My MLS is the same as anyone's. It wasn't an MLS in media skills. The prof was simply explaining that as a librarian you should try to have a grasp on as many books as you possibly can (fiction or nonfiction).

Jul. 30, 2007, 1:34pm

It makes sense that in an academic library or a special library, people are less likely to come in looking for something good to read. But isn't love of information part of helping people find useful nonfiction, and aren't love of reading and love of information related, if one isn't strictly a fiction reader?

Honestly, I want to be a cataloger. But I just see that as an extention of "getting books to people" with the added bonus of not having to interact with all of the people.

And I don't understand the concept of not having time to read. True, I don't work full time, but I hear plenty of my fellow graduate students saying that they don't have time to read things not for their studies, and they aren't generally in medical or law school. People who say you don't have time to read: Don't you ever have only work to do that requires being at your computer? When that's the case, don't you ever stop working to eat? Don't you ever pump gas? Aren't you ever somewhere when you can't access what you need for your job or studies (such as a computer) but you can pull out a book? Then why don't you?

Jul. 30, 2007, 1:53pm

I think people who say they don't have time to read don't really want to read. It's all about choice, IMHO.

Mind you, I've been an obsessive reader from the day I learned how and I read quickly. I have friends who are slower readers, dislike interruptions and like to concentrate on what they're reading (I'm a multi-tasker from way back) and if conditions aren't right they don't enjoy reading. So "no time" for them just means that the conditions aren't right very often.

Jul. 30, 2007, 1:58pm

I read tons for myself, when I have time. Weekends, airplanes, etc. I can't read before bed, because a good book sucks me in and invigorates instead of making me sleepy...

But folks who go into librarianship because they love to read are (I think) under a serious misapprehension about the job. Even though I'm supposed to research and publish, I rarely have time on the job for the reading required for that (another reason I rarely have time for pleasure reading -- I've got to do my research in that down time too!). The longest things I get to read during Instruction season are Choice cards!

Do folks with Reader's Advisory in their positions get to read fiction to do the job? or, do they mostly rely on read-alike websites and books?

Bearbeitet: Jul. 30, 2007, 2:12pm

"I want to be a librarian because I love reading."

I want to help people find the things they want/need, whether books, articles, "manuals", databases, etc, and teach them how to find things on their own.

I want to help them learn about computers to the extent possible within a library.

I want to be able to pick books I like, and patrons would like to read, which involves some amount of reading.

If I ever do work in TS, I want to be able to order books I like, and patrons would like to read, which involves some amount of reading. Then label them with classification numbers, subject headings, so people can find them to read.

Jul. 31, 2007, 7:26pm

I love being a librarian because every day is different. You never know what's going to come through the door. Also, I think when we do our jobs right people are very appreciative.

I love being a librarian because people want to know what I know. Or how to find what I know.

I don't think I've ever had a boring day as a librarian. (Not all good days, but all interesting)

Jul. 31, 2007, 7:37pm

I think the most satisfying aspects of librarianship are tied to the service element. When you think how much it takes for some people to screw up the courage to ask for help, even for minor information difficulties, then the satisfaction of tactfully helping them get to the right answer is tremendous!

Helping people find something satisfying to read or remember the title of a book they loved as a child? Equally special in my book.

23gdala1 Erste Nachricht
Aug. 5, 2007, 11:56pm

If you don't love to read how can you possibly do reader's advisory?

If you don't love to read how can you possibly present wonderful book talks to school classes and clubs?

If you don't love to read how can you possibly lead book discussion groups?

If you don't love to read, what are you doing here?

I lost respect for the Director of a library where I once worked because she told me the only thing she had time to read was Reader's Digest.

I began to be deeply depressed about the status of public library work when I learned that of the six people employed by the small library where I worked, I was the only one who actually read books.

When I become Director, I am going to require that each member of my staff, including the tech services person and the IT guy, read and then present a book report on one new book that has been added to the collections at a monthly staff meeting. Everyone who works in a library should be able to read at least 12 books a year!

People who don't love to read should NOT work for a library!

Aug. 6, 2007, 12:13am

23> Then where are your books? (Just teasing, I see you joined yesterday.)

Aug. 6, 2007, 5:41pm

>People who don't love to read should NOT work for a library!

gdala1, I have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. I, for one, do not love reading. I *like* reading, but I will not cease to exist if I do not reach a quota per year. In fact, I too do not have a lot of time to devote to pleasure reading due to both professional and personal reasons. I rather judge a person on their character than on how many books she or he reads. I realize that that may not be the norm for the field (since I have not been in the field for too long), but this is what I believe.

I am a librarian because I love information. I see it as my duty and responsibility to connect people to the information that they need and want. Reading is necessary, but to say that you MUST love reading or else would alienate certain demographics in the profession.

As for reader's advisory, book talks and groups, I let those who are better suited to do those things take charge. Different people have different interests and strengths. I let the person who loves reading do her/his thing, and they let me do mine. In the end our work should compliment each other, and both of us should be striving for the goal of providing information- books, articles, forms, etc.- to the user.

I'm not very sure if having a required reading list would be welcomed even in a workplace like the library. You run the chance of pushing people from liking to read to hating to read if you force them into something they particularly don't want to do. Even if you have a library full of librarians who do love to read, the book selection will be a sticking point because of different tastes...

Aug. 6, 2007, 8:07pm

Once again we see a "problem" and the solution is to force someone to read and write a report. That didn't work in school, (in fact, quite the opposite) and it won't work here. That's probably how those people learned to hate reading to begin with. And a book a month isn't going to make a dent in the Reader's Advisory angle. For that you need to listen to what your patrons say when they return books. You need a prodigious memory and intuition. Book-Talking is an art form, not a job description. Just reading a book doesn't prepare you to talk it up. You need the flair and/or the training to do that. Ditto with Book Discussion Leaders. You can be a prodigious reader but a lousy discussion leader.
Your staff are patrons, too. What would they want to read? What genres? Non-fiction? Magazines? Maybe they listen to audio-books. Where would they want to do it? What kind of lighting and chairs? Is reading encouraged at the various public desks? Does anyone book-talk to them or leave book reviews or even cheap, trashy, fun books around to be picked up out of desperation? We even had a staff summer reading program one year with prizes.
Treat your future staff gently. Encourage them to stretch themselves, give them the space in which to grow, show a good example, expect them to succeed, and they will do anything for you. Limit them (No reading at the desks!), belittle them (I won't tolerate what I define as non-readers), scourge them like they probably were in school (and I don't trust you to have read a book so you have to write an effing report) ... and what do you think they'll do? Hmmmmm?

Aug. 9, 2007, 3:23pm

marfita, will you come be the head of my library please?

Aug. 9, 2007, 3:30pm

*echoes 27*

Aug. 10, 2007, 9:17am

## 27, 28 comments need to be passed along to my director. There's a certain amount of "trickle-down" from those quarters. That, and it will give her a good laugh.

Aug. 10, 2007, 9:25pm

If you work in some jobs in a public library, I can see loving reading being useful, but not necessarily in an academic library. In administration and technical services it doesn’t matter :D

Aug. 19, 2007, 7:44pm

I love to read and work in a public library. I have had people come in and say, "Oh I would love to just sit around and read all day like you!" Apparently they don't have a clue what I do!

Aug. 31, 2007, 4:05pm

I want to work in a library because I love libraries.

I love books and information.

I like to read.

I love finding the answers to questions using research and problem solving.

I love helping and teaching people and passing on my passion.

I love movies, the internet, maps, dictionaries, and community.

I like organizing and sorting things so they are easy to find.

When I say I love reading, I am really referring to the first three items listed above. If someone wants to work in a library because they want to sit around and read whatever they want all day and don't agree with anything else on my list, they don't want to work in a library- they want to win the lottery and go to the library.

Aug. 31, 2007, 8:25pm

I became a librarian because I love the feeling of being among so many books (and other resources) that hold so much information! In a library, there is something new at every turn -- something to learn, a new person to meet and talk to -- just something different every day. I love variety in my life and a library is the source of great variety. Speaking as someone who did not grow up with the Internet, I also respect and love libraries as the great social institutions they are. Public libraries, especially, are open to everyone and many people have educated themselves by using the resources libraries have to offer. Libraries today offer a wide array of opportunities to use a variety of technologies. To work in a profession where I can learn every day is a wonderful experience. And last, but certainly not least, I learn every day from my wonderful colleagues. And by the way, I read every single day. To be honest, that may actually be why I became a librarian!

Sept. 2, 2007, 11:55am

Being an obsessive reader was certainly a factor in my decision to become a librarian. But more so the physical extension of having a love for books. Personally I never feel more at peace than when I'm surrounded by books and can just soak in that musty smell they give off in large numbers. Being able to work with the books themselves is what drew me to a technical services position.

35leuleu Erste Nachricht
Sept. 14, 2007, 4:41pm

Absolutely Right On! Of course we love to read but you don't read while working as a librarian. Ever. That is if you're a good one. Instead, you're out in the stacks, helping kids find books, talking to patrons, helping on computers and with research projects.
There's nothing like spending the day in the library with kids. But you won't get much reading time...

Sept. 17, 2007, 5:08pm

Yes, thank you for the original post!

I became a librarian because I love to help OTHER PEOPLE *find* the information/books/music/videos/software/maps/etc. they need or want.

I work in an academic library that primarily serves the College of Engineering - while I read for pleasure on my own time, that just isn't what being a librarian here entails. Of course, if I worked as an elementary school librarian, or a children's librarian, or a reader's advisory librarian, a love of reading for pleasure would be crucial.

There are other weak reasons to become a librarian. In the past, some women likely became librarians because they had few career options. And today, some people get a B.A. in the arts, humanities, or social sciences, and other than not becoming a professor, they don't know what to do with their lives, so they go straight on to library school - bringing their burned out, immature, and anti-intellectual attitudes into the classroom.

Sept. 18, 2007, 5:18pm

Wow, how very middle school. Book Reports?? Give me a break.

I do love to read but I can understand people who do not. I have a problem understanding people who never read, but it is OK.

Reading is not the most important thing about librarianship, I think it is information and the organizing of information so it is easily accessible.

Sept. 28, 2007, 9:47pm

You probably won't like this, but here goes. I used to be my library's representative to a 'personnel round table' in my state where the HR people got together once every couple of months to share information. I was never a professional HR person, but because of my library's size I took on that role for awhile and wrote a couple of personnel manuals before life got so sophisticated.

Well, professional HR people are quite convinced 'librarians' are on the nutzoid side of the house. One of their jokes is that a very frustrated peron is stressed out about his/her job and visits a psychologist. They talk about how bad life is and how a career change might be in order. The psychologist says, "Well, you like to read books,, don't you?" "Of course!" says the patient, warming to the idea. "Then you could become a librarian!" says the shrink.

And thus new converts are attracted to the profession. If I had not seen this in action too many times I would simply laugh at the joke. Alas....Bad idea.

P.S. hey don't like engineers either, so don't take it personally.

Sept. 29, 2007, 1:15pm

Without some love of reading, most journal articles and book reviews would be unread. And how many of those HR people were caught up on their professional reading, aware of upcoming trends, and participating in work related activities on their days off?

Bearbeitet: Okt. 4, 2007, 11:27am

I might be as thick as a dope-peddler's wallet, but I'm still trying to figure out where the joke in #38 is. I think the problem is that HR people have no sense of humor and are garbling something that was originally funny.

Deleting the rest of this. Don't know what got into me. Just cheezed me off royally, I guess.

Okt. 2, 2007, 12:16pm

All I know is that as a kid, the librarians who loved reading were the ones who got me to read; the ones who didn't never seemed to inspire that curiousity in anyone.

I think you should love reading. That has nothing to do with reaching a quota, or spending every free second with a book in your face. But I think you need to love it. You need to, if you're going to generate enthusiasm in anyone else.

Personally, working at a bookstore, if I didn't love books I might just firebomb the place.

42Jean-Louis Erste Nachricht
Okt. 11, 2007, 1:21pm

Although I love books and could read well at age 5 (so my mother told me) and have read all my life, I never chose to become a librarian. I needed a job and found one in a library. But now that I am retired I can say that I never regretted it. I have had many opportunities to study, to get university degrees -and not only in librarianship- and to meet and work with all sorts of people in different countries. Maybe I was especially lucky. I realize now how difficult it is, outside of the library world, to find people whose interests are other than professional. Many librarians are dull, but compared with the rest of the population many are exceptionally curious and interesting.

Okt. 11, 2007, 1:40pm

#23 gdala1 - although I admire your dedication to reading, if you were going to require your employees to read, you'd have to allow them to do it completely on work time, or pay them overtime for the hours spent at home reading. You can't require them to do things outside of work hours without paying them.

I think another approach could possibly work: have a contest, for every library employee who submits a short book review each month, their name goes into a hat for a small prize drawing. You could decide if everyone gets only one entry, regardless of # of reviews submitted, or if they get one entry per book reviewed. If you have voracious readers who read 10-20 books a month, that might discourage someone who only reads one because they might think they have no chance in the drawing with only one entry.

The reviews could be placed on an internal library blog, or could be worked into a little newsletter that is e-mailed to all employees as a Word doc or a PDF doc, so no printing costs -- just the time for one employee to pull them together into a document.

I became a librarian because I love information and helping people find it. I do also love being surrounded by books, which is funny considering I now work in a virtual/electronic library! I started in cataloging and I loved having the new books pass through my hands, and assigning subject headings by trying to think "how would the patron look for this?" My first job was cataloging children's books -- perfect, because I love kids' books but don't do so well with kids!

Okt. 20, 2007, 7:06am

Having been both an academic and public librarian, my perspective is that your love of reading can often be a separate issue from what you do in your professional life. I love to read, have always been a big reader, but as an academic librarian, reader's advisory was not even an issue.

As a public librarian, I do read more of the new books that come through, and many books I read are not to my personal taste. But I try to sample books I would not normally read to be more effective in advising readers. And believe me, that kind of reading happens on my own time since there is no time for reading at work. Every time I hear someone say "You must love books since you're a librarian," I laugh a bit, because even if I wanted to read at work, there's zero time to do so.

I think if one were to make a sweeping generalization about librarians beyond the cliche of a love of reading, it's that librarians want to be of service, and as many have observed in these posts, that desire to be helpful takes the form of connecting people with information. The best librarians are passionate about being of service and understand that it's the patron's information needs that are the real issues; booktalking is just a small piece of that service. The service imperative is a much more crucial trait for successful librarianship than a love of reading, and this would apply to librarians at a service desk, or in technical services with no public contact, or in any kind of library--public, academic or special. The service imperative can drive a cataloging librarian just as much as a reference librarian, since both jobs are ultimately about helping the patron connect with the right materials to fill a specific information need. And helping make that connection requires not so much a love of reading as a desire to be of service.

Okt. 22, 2007, 1:03am

I told someone I like reading and they told me I should be a librarian. Then I told them that just because I read doesn't mean I should be a librarian. That's like saying someone you likes watching movies should work at a cinema.

I wouldn't mind being a librarian but it's an odd stereotype that readers have been given.

Okt. 22, 2007, 1:16pm

i would tell someone, you might want to become a librarian because you love books and reading, but you stay a librarian because you love public service, reference, intellectual freedom organization and dessemination of information and a host of other topics and issues. if i ever met a librarian who said they didn't love reading or that their love of reading hadn't factored into their decision in some way, i'd be skeptical of them at the very least.

frankly, i think that there are sometimes when becoming a librarian because you love to read *is* a good thing. i work in youth services. my passion for reading and my desire to share that passion with children and young adults is, in my opinion, a key component of my job. most of the kids i work with could care less that i learned how to create a dewey number in my cataloging class or that i understand how to search using boolean operators, they just like that when they ask for a fantasy novel with a girl protagonist and some talking animals and no kissing, i can give them a few options.

Okt. 22, 2007, 3:46pm

I kind of fell into librarianship, frankly. I was a biologist until I became a stay at home mom. I started volunteering in a library. There I realized that most of what I loved doing in my position as a biologist was directly related to librarianship-organizing studies, presenting research, pouring over scholarly journals to find the most pertinant information to present. Yes, I do love reading-I love cataloging and reader advisory and library instruction (which is what I do now, along with reference). I guess I became a librarian because I love to research and I don't want to be tied down to researching one topic for the rest of my career. Plus, I have every intention of being a career student and the only way I can finance that is to be an academic librarian in a place that will give me free tuition. :D

Nov. 19, 2007, 12:19pm

Remember my earlier post, #26? I meant it then and I mean it today. I am now in a position where I have to read a book a month (not of my choosing/input or even relevant to my department) and write a review for work and I'm ready to chew off my own leg to get away from it. And I'm a reader! And opinionated! And this is alienating me!
Please, directors and supervisors all over, rethink this madness! At least take some input from your minions about what they are interested in or what is relevant to their work! I care not one jot what your excellent reasons are for this, or how subtle the pressure is ("Oh, you don't have to ... but it will figure in your performance review." Ominous organ chord.). I got through school without losing my love of reading. Don't teach me to hate it now.

Nov. 19, 2007, 5:28pm

Honestly, it would surprise me more, and concern me less, to hear a librarian state that s/he didn't "love" books, than to hear a teacher state that they didn't like to read. People come to librarianship through many different routes, and many of us do at least like to read, even if we aren't compulsive about finishing a particular number of books per year. Personally, much of what I read is escapist, not necessarily professional in nature, and in speaking to colleagues, that's not uncommon.

But personal like or dislike of reading aside, I'm an academic librarian. I have occasion to work with our education students who, as future teachers, will be at least somewhat responsible for shaping the likes and dislikes of tomorrow's adults. Frequently I hear "I hate to read" as I assist them in locating age-appropriate, genre-specific fiction to accompany their lesson plans, and when I do, I cringe. No, not everyone likes to read, but shouldn't future teachers at least have a fond memory of a favorite story from childhood? I can honestly say, many of them (ours at least) don't.

I agree with sadiegrrl -- there are definitely library positions in which a love of reading, and the ability to communicate that love, especially to children and young adults, in a meaningful manner is critical. Given the lack of excitement with which many of our future teachers greet reading anything, a positive encounter with a children's librarian or school media specialist may soon be the only encounter some children get with readers who are informed and enthusiastic and actually enjoy reading .

So, I say kudos to all those school media specialists and children's librarians who love reading and inspire, encourage and get books into children's hands.

50sharee_crocker Erste Nachricht
Dez. 19, 2007, 12:07am

I like being a librarian because I like to teach users how to search effectively and provide them with skills that they can use for life long learning

Dez. 19, 2007, 9:45pm

I want to work in a library because:

1. I like being in libraries.

2. I like accessing both the past and the future.

3. I love research.

4. I love the written word and have the utmost respect for it, regardless of my ability to read it.

5. I want to help preserve the past (in all of its forms.)

6. I think I could excel in the work as it interests me.

How's that?

Bearbeitet: Dez. 26, 2007, 10:10am

I saw an article in the New York Times not too long ago (i.e. less that amonth or two...today is Dec 26 2007) about a UN report comparing educational statistics of various nations.

...This is relevant....just hang in there a bit.....

One factoid which intriqued me is that whereas in some countries such as Finland (If I'm not mistaken) where teachers are drawn from the top 10 percent of the graduating college class, in the US the modal education student comes from the bottom third of the graduating class. I dont remember the details and I havent got the article before me, so I wont swear its really the modal student. It may well be that n% of the incomming class in teacher's programs come from the bottom third, where n is closer to 90.

Whew! Sorry for the long winded intro, I dont see how it could have been avoided.

From which percentile(s) of the graduating class are the majority of Library Science students recruited, here in the US?

53vnovak Erste Nachricht
Jan. 8, 2008, 6:48pm

If not librarianship, what kind of profession WOULD be good for someone who loves to read?

I think that a love of reading is definitely useful for a public or school librarian. You have to have something that inspires you - it could be a love of reading, or a love of solving puzzles (and reference questions) or a love of organization.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 24, 2008, 6:00pm

I think if you love to read and *think* you want to be a librarian for that reason, then by all means get a job in a library and find out *before* you get your MLS. I do A LOT of different tasks during any given day - and, as you all know, a lot of those tasks are not necessarily *reading* or even book related! Most of our patrons LOVE books and reading, but it doesn't mean that most patrons could or would be a good librarian!!!!!
Most of us who are librarians become librarians because of our love for books and reading, but I really hope that new librarians, or those who are considering the profession, will take a closer look at the field before jumping in for that reason. Make sense?

Jan. 25, 2008, 3:00am

I am a librarian in a public library. I love to read, but I got my initial part-time job because I love libraries. The whole atmosphere is focused on information as well as the love & pleasure of reading. Yes, I am a prolific reader and I do get frustrated with the average Joe Bloggs who assumes librarians get to read all day (I wish).
I have been in my job for 10 years now and one of my very favourite things is when I connect a customer with a book or piece of information they didn't think they would find. Love it! Love getting new authors for our fiction readers. And as a children's librarian I just love encouraging our young ones in their journey through the wonderful world of reading.
I don't think that you have to be a great reader to be a librarian, but I think you will miss some amazing aspects of the job if you don't. Having said that, I know quite a few awesome librarians who don't read much at all. Strange people indeed!

56samantha464 Erste Nachricht
Jan. 25, 2008, 1:28pm

I think it's important to have a love of reading if you're a librarian, particularly a public librarian, but that a love of reading is far from enough to sustain you through the profession. Since I've never once had time to read anything other than my email while working, I don't consider "reading" as part of my job, with the exception of reader's advisory books. But when kids ask me for book recommendations or parents are looking for things for reluctant readers, I tend to fall back on the love of reading I had in grade school for good titles to give them.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 26, 2008, 4:55pm

Where I work, we have two kinds of employees: those who read for kicks, and those who do not. Of those two groups, guess which is the most productive and competent? Yes, that's right, the crowd that reads for kicks is the better functioning segement, and the different between the two camps is quite stark. I'm not suggesting causation, but there's certainly a correlation.

I dread the day when libraries begin hiring en masse the slack jawed, non-reading, quasi-literate organ sacks that, at least in my library, are already far too common.

Jan. 27, 2008, 9:41am

I think love of reading can go hand in hand with love of information, the latter being a much better reason for going into the library field. I might go so far as to say that when people say they want to be librarians because they love reading, what they mean is they have a love/respect for the information obtained, not just the act of reading. In this sense (if this makes any sense) I think it's a perfectly plausible--even a good--reason for going into library science.

My own reasons for wanting to go into library science (I hope to start on my MLS in the fall) could be described similarly--I love to read, but it's more than just reading. How information is organized and obtained is fascinating to me, to say nothing of the fact that I just love the atmosphere of libraries. (I currently work at an academic library and a medical library, in addition to frequenting my public library regularly.)

Jan. 27, 2008, 3:03pm

^ reptiliancandy

I hope when you start your M.L.S. you'll post lots of updates in a dedicated thread about Library School As It Happens (or something). I'm very interested to hear about what library school classes are like now. I only got my M.L.S. in 2002 but I suspect there are already lots and lots of changes.

Your second paragraph above ("I love to read, but it's more than just reading. How information is organized and obtained is fascinating to me...") is just exactly how I feel about it.

Good luck!!!

Jan. 27, 2008, 8:55pm

59~Thanks. :)

61yabrarian Erste Nachricht
Jan. 28, 2008, 3:48pm

I think that people really do not know what librarians do! A love of reading is probably a prerequisite for work in a public or school library, where books will be promoted, but a special library or a business library? I guess some people like to read that sort of stuff!

Jan. 29, 2008, 8:28am

I've always thought being a librarian was more about being service-oriented and enjoying helping people than it was about simply liking to read. You have to like people and want to help and provide services- or at least provide services and organize information, if you're more of a behind the scenes person! What drives me is feeling like I'm doing something that matters to people and adds value to their lives. Books are just the icing on the cake!

Feb. 3, 2008, 12:21pm

No one mentioned that being a public librarian involves babysitting other people's children, disciplining patrons who are there for "MySpace" access and talking on their cell phones, and handling much abuse from an unappreciative public. Many patrons are not there to read or research, but to use the "arcade" and "video store" that we have become. I hear "I'm bored" from many children when they won't even open up a book of any type - but just want the Internet. I became a librarian for many of the reasons above and I have time to read and do professional development at work, but I also have to put up with a lot of stress from being in public service. People considering librarianship should definitely research it first! Especially to decide what type of library to work in, as it varies. Merely loving reading does not cut it! This is as cliche a statement as "oh, do you know the Dewey Decimal system?" That annoyed me throughout library school when I would meet new people and tell them about my plans to be a librarian. (By the way, I love my job, but it wears on me some days!)

Feb. 5, 2008, 4:44pm

If one should research librarianship, what do you think IS the best way to research whether or not one should become a librarian? I'm a middle school English teacher considering an MLS.

Feb. 6, 2008, 8:54am

If you enjoy organising information as much as helping others to retrieve it.

Feb. 6, 2008, 10:29pm

>64 jholcomb:
Reading posts in all the discussions of this group may give you a glimpse of some of the attitudes, rewards and hassles that we experience. You might add to that by reading mailing list archives, Pub-Lib is one, and various blogs by librarians. Your own attitudes may differ, but it's likely that you'd have coworkers and patrons with similarities. It wouldn't hurt either if you could lurk near a reference and/or circulation desk on a busy afternoon and evening.

And, if you considering leaving work in a school library for a public library, give some attention to differences in working hours. Public librarians work twelve months of the year with about two weeks of vacation hours to begin. Public service positions require work on at least one evening and two weekend days a month.

Feb. 7, 2008, 12:05am

Public service positions require work on at least one evening and two weekend days a month.

notelinks (or anyone else who knows) --

as someone interested in possibly going into public librarianship, I was wondering if this is an overarching standard (and if so, in what jurisdictions it applies), or just a statement of how much one is expected to work outside of "normal business hours" on average?

Thanks. :)

Feb. 7, 2008, 12:57pm


A statement--I might have said "usually required"--It's often advertised as "Some evenings and weekend hours are required." To find out more about that in the US, you could read job postings. A general description of hours is often included. The LisJobs links by state connect to ads that include descriptions and requirements. It's at http://www.lisjobs.com.

People sometimes overlook the range of operating hours or assume that part-timers cover those. Maybe... I enjoy variety in the schedule, but I don't have to arrange for child care or attend school programs any more. Splitting "weekend" days is more difficult for me. When we work on Saturday, we take Friday off. Our days off those weeks are separated--Friday and Sunday. Having two days off in a row is more restful.

Feb. 8, 2008, 12:14pm

64: find some libraries that are doing the kind of work you're interested in and request an informational interview so you can ask questions. then see if you can volunteer somewhere to get a taste of the atmosphere and the work.

Feb. 8, 2008, 9:38pm


Thanks, I figured it was more of a general statement but I figure it's always good to ask for clarification!

I am going to bookmark lisjobs.com for when I'm close to graduation in 2 years...

Feb. 9, 2008, 11:00am


lisjobs.com recently added discussion forums. You might want to look there even before you get close to graduation. The discussions tend to be about library careers and employment.

Feb. 9, 2008, 7:49pm

>64 jholcomb:-Are you considering being a school librarian? In Texas, you have to be a teacher for 3 years and get an MLS to become a school librarian. Similar hours and working months to teachers, still lots of outside work, but no grading papers or parent-teacher conferences.

IMO, the best way to research librarianship is to talk to a librarian. Many of us love going on and on about the profession. Your school librarian will tell you everything she loves and hates about the job, as will many public librarians, especially those in public services.

Feb. 9, 2008, 10:39pm

I'm interested in being a school librarian, but I'm not a certified teacher, and I'm not sure I'm up for that much schooling. I mostly think about a public library.

On the other hand, I do have a subject-area master's already (English), so a community college library might be an option.

Feb. 11, 2008, 2:38pm

you can often work at a private school library without having your teaching certificate (i think that sometimes you can also teach at a private school without a certificate) but you'd need to check your state's laws.

Feb. 11, 2008, 6:27pm

Community College librarian might be just the ticket if you have a subject masters degree too, but then you'll probably have to affirm not "I want to be a librarian because I love reading" but rather "....because I love teaching."

It's probably not necessary to describe the kind of teaching one does as a CC librarian, but I'll just say that a great deal of human understanding is necessary, as patrons are often going through hard times and have often developed habits that might be adaptive in the short run but are real obstacles to learning.

Mrz. 1, 2008, 4:50pm

My advice to everyone has always been that if you love a place, don't work there. Whether it is the store with the clothes you love, the restaurant you adore--- working in a place is completely different than going there for pleasure.

You will not be reading at your public desk (and if you are, you are missing the million service elements you should be doing)

Working in a public library has changed my library use- since I work there all day I never hang out and browse and go to libraries (unless I'm on vacation). I will go to B&N on my leisure time sometimes.

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 1, 2008, 6:59pm

I heartily agree. Thirty-five years ago that was my reason for getting my MLS...it's not a bad reason but certainly shouldn't be your primary reason. The amount of time I actually spent reading while working may have reached 10 minutes in a 37 1/2 hour week! My reason evolved into this basic statement: I love books and reading and want to share my enthusiasm with others. Additionally, the desire to help people with their informational needs ran a close second. It was such a feeling of accomplishment to send some one out the library door with an answer to a question or a new novel that they couldn't wait to read.

Mrz. 6, 2008, 10:05am

I'm am currently preparing to begin applying to MLS programs and thought I'd take a quick browse through this thread to see what people were saying. I love reading, that has never been a question, but if that were the most important factor in choosing a career, I would continue working for Borders, where I have been employed off and on over the last 7 years. I've always thought of librarians as the "renaissance" men and women of our time. A over-reaching love of information would seemingly conform to a love of learning semms like it would be an important quality in any librarian. For me, and I suspect for many of you, my interests extend to many different subjects, are, history, religion, science, etc. I think this is what will make me effective and information gathering and sharing. I suppose it also doesn't hurt that I'm so compulsive about cataloging my own books that my list (as it stands so far) was compiled from memory yesterday (I recently moved and my books are mostly still in boxes).

Anyway, I found the discussion very interesting and saw a lot of myself in the way many of you described why you liked the job. Thank you, it confirmed in me that this is what I want to do with my life.

Mrz. 8, 2008, 7:39pm

I both agree and disagree with the OP of this thread. Thinking you are going to sit around all day and read is a very bad reason to become a librarian. And while one wouldn't necessarily need to "love" reading to consider the profession, one should at least like to read.

Because no matter what type of librarian you opt to become--public, school, medical, legal, archival, etc.--reading WILL be involved. Personally, I started off as a film librarian and later went into public libraries as a children's librarian. As other posters have stated, how on earth can you do reader's advisory or book talks if you don't read? Myriads of times I have been able to answer a question for a patron simply because I had read a book or article that held the answer. You know, some of those little details that reviews don't mention or don't get picked up for a subject entry in your catalog.

And, much as I love the Internet, it does not yet have the depth on most subjects that a good book has.

Mostly, we librarians seem to be people that like connecting others up wiuth information. Like solving the puzzles that reference questions can pose. Like information for information's sake and discovering new things.

As an earlier poster stated, you can always find SOME time to read, it is false to say that one never reads "on the job." Though it does help to be a fast reader. :c)

Mrz. 8, 2008, 9:14pm

For those who want to be librarians cause they "love to read" I work as a shelver in the public library - now thats a job where perusing books thoroughly is par for the course. And no MLS required! I worked for an online book seller previously and that cemented my love of working with books as opposed to only reading them.

Mrz. 9, 2008, 10:51pm

I'm a bit late on adding a comment to this thread but wanted to throw my two cents' worth into the mix.

A love of organization, of knowledge, of public service are all GREAT reasons to become a librarian - regardless of what kind of specialization your career takes.

Your love of reading makes you a great public library patron, a great bookclub member - not a great librarian. Libraries & the information field involve so much more than just reading a good book - or the love of reading.

I work in a special library that requires me to catalog & locate video footage on a daily basis. I didn't go to library school to learn about b-roll, TV spots or commercial elements but I used the skills of the profession (organization, client-centered service ethics, etc.) and adapted them to the situation & I LOVE it. Not because I love video - but because I love making the whole process work. I love being able to locate a specific shot someone is looking for. I love being able to come through on a difficult - shot in the dark - request. I love finding ways to make the collection more accessible - and expanding my skillset in the process.

My standard response to someone who claims their love of reading as a reason to get into the field is tell them that some of the best librarians I know are far from being bookworms. That although many of us in the profession work with books, the real fun involves organization of knowledge, working with databases, with clients & adapting to the constantly changing scope of work. I suggest what they may want to do is to join a local bookclub, or run a bookstore if their interests lie in reading & sharing great books with others.

Yes, if you work in a public or academic library you will still be able to share great books with others, but the majority of your time will be spent doing the multitude of other things that keep the library running.

Mrz. 12, 2008, 4:28pm

I'm not really interested in being a librarian, because I love my job as a shelver! I've been working in my local library for almost 3 years and it's great!

Mrz. 13, 2008, 6:36am

Good for you >82 warrenzevons:! Don't you find it knackering though?! I only shelve for a couple of hours a day and that's enough! I do get an odd sense of satisfaction from it though.

Mrz. 18, 2008, 3:03am

oh, I love shelving, too. As a librarian I am supposed to leave that work for paraprofessionals, but usually once a month or so I find myself up in the stacks, at least shelf-reading if not actually shelving. As someone else commented already, it's a great way to get reference questions. Many people don't want to trek all the way to a reference desk to ask "this might seem stupid but..." but if a person is right there looking helpful, they'll give it a try. Sometimes it's the first time they've talked to a librarian, so then they are relieved to find we can be friendly and won't make a big deal out of not understanding call numbers, and might actually help find a novel that is set in India or a children's book about math phobia or whatever it is they're seeking.

Mrz. 19, 2008, 1:34pm

I think that the face of librarians is definitely changing. The stereotypes are going away, and librarians are, in fact, getting "hip." For example, at my library, we have librarians with piercings, multicolored hair and great style. And they are smart and outgoing. Yes, we still have the librarians who fit the stereotype, but I see more and more librarians coming into the field who do it. I know I don't. For one, I'm African American, and there aren't many of us in the field. I am also 40, which is still relatively young by librarian standards (and I look about 30).

Mrz. 20, 2008, 10:18am

^lecia1167, agreed! I'm 40 too, and I'm considered one of the young ones at my institution. And although they don't show at work, I think many of my co-workers know I have a couple of tattoos... ;-)

Mrz. 20, 2008, 11:15am

>86 amysisson:/86: Yep, that's me and my library as well. We do have people that fit the old stereotype, but I'm one of the pierced, tattooed ones and I have multicolored hair sometimes. I always wear jeans and rocker shirts. Or whatever I can find. In winter you can't see my tattoos, but in summer when I wear tank tops and shorts, you can. I work in the backoffice though, I wouldn't be allowed to wear tanks if I worked at the front desk.
In my office (the journal department) I'm not even the youngest at 31. We have two in their early twenties and two who are the same age as me. The oldest guy who's 63 is also covered with tattoos. They are old "prison-style" tattoos on his arms.. Yeah, we're a rebelious bunch of librarians ;-)

Mai 22, 2008, 5:08am

I am 23 years old and I have been working in an academic library for a year now! I am starting my Higher Diploma in Information and library studies in September in University College Dublin. I realised that I wanted to be a librarian when I was 17 doing summer work. I honestly could not imagine doing any other profession. The pure satisfaction that I get from helping somebody with a query or even just cataloguing a book is what makes it all worth while!

Mai 22, 2008, 8:10pm

>84 Nycticebus:, You're absolutely right! I've found that a lot of people asked me for help fairly readily when I was shelving and seem more reluctant to do so now that I'm behind a desk.

I think that loving reading is a fine reason to want to work in a library, but if it's the only reason that person will be sadly disappointed by the reality. Yes, it's the reason I volunteered in high school and started working as page. (Are you kidding me? Three or four days a week spent in a library, and I got to see all the new books first? What glorious fun!) Now, having gone to school for my MLS and working at a public library for over 8 years, I can definitely say that a library job is more than about reading and books. It's also about providing good service, helping get the copier unjammed, answering tough reference questions, and instructing patrons in using the online catalog. At the same time, talking about books with patrons is one of the best parts of my job, and I always feel very accomplished when someone leaves with a book saying, "This is perfect!"

Mai 28, 2008, 8:51pm

Yes, I really agree. It took me five years of working with troubled teens and getting a Masters in Elementary Ed. and working in schools and working at Borders to realize that Children's Librarian is my calling. I was not a huge reader, but I am now! When it helps kids, it is very motivating and fun.

Jun. 5, 2008, 2:21am

* I love making order out of chaos

* I love reading and talking about and finding out more about books, films, and music.

* I love research, but don't like writing as much - so it's always fun to help people w/ their research questions, help them find materials, learn a bit about things, but leave them to really delve and put it together

* I like helping people, even if it's just telling them "the photocopier is over there" , or "you can export your bib references like this" or "searching these terms while limiting for abstract will get you better results"- quick and easy "warm fuzzy".

* I even now like to do html & xhtml coding.

Jun. 7, 2008, 3:01pm

Loving to read inspired me to want to be a librarian, but I never expected my day to consist of reading for pleasure.

As a reference librarian, I do read for pleasure on breaks and after work, but I do other kinds of reading when I'm on the clock. I skim web sites, articles, and books to see whether they'll answer the question at hand; I read reviews and sometimes publisher's catalogs to decide whether to select materials; I scan at least the headlines of newspapers to try to keep current on events, and so on. I'd never be able to get through it all if I wasn't a fast reader, and I wouldn't be a fast reader if I hadn't spent so much time reading for pleasure.

I'd have to say that I became a librarian because I wanted a way to support myself that was connected to what I love to do, and because I wanted to help people find the information they need. As a previous poster remarked, I used to spend a lot of personal time in libraries, and now I don't . . . and I do miss it, but I wouldn't go back.

Jun. 7, 2008, 8:29pm

I want to be a librarian because I am the one that all my friends and family turn to to answer a question, I have reference books and I know how to use the internet, with all sorts of reference pages bookmarked. I also like to do reserch on my favorite authors, tracking down all of the things they ever wrote.

It's funny, in school friends and teachers always said I'd be a librarian because I always had a book in hand - and I volunteered in the secondary school library - but I ignored them and ended up doing my Geology degree, because I'm fascinated by crystal structures and minerology, since I finished that 3 years ago though I've figured out what I said in the above - I love answering questions, and now I want to be a librarian, I just need to get funding for the £3,000 tuition and living costs on top of that. And I actually need to get on a course.

I really was the only person who got told off for reading in school - well until my little brother got there.

Jun. 8, 2008, 5:15pm

^93 I don't know if the job market is the same where you are as it is in the U.S., but with a geology degree and library degree, you'd be quite valuable here. It's hard for academic libraries to find people with both science and library backgrounds.

Jun. 20, 2008, 4:35pm

I think I have a different opinion than many other librarians on this subject. I originally wanted to become a librarian because I loved (and still do) love reading. I never believed that becoming a librarian would allow me to sit around and read all day long but it would expose me to lots of information all day long and to share it with other people. I think that it is a really negative association that people create around reading and women. I think that if you care about reading and encouraging reading amongst your clients/patrons than you are aiding general literacy.

Jul. 9, 2008, 8:13pm

People assume that we have all this time to read. We don't! You may read on your lunch break and on your commute, but you don't sit around and read at your job, even if it is a library. I tell people that I became a librarian because I love libararies. I really do. Yes, the job can get to you sometimes, but overall it's a really good career choice for me.

Jul. 11, 2008, 8:23am

The fact that I love to read led me to spend a lot of time in libraries, which in turn put the profession on my horizon. But that's not the main reason I'm acquiring my MLS.

I worked in my college's library, and I loved the job. I love organizing things, interacting with the public. Most importantly though, I think it is vital to maintain free, uncensored access to information for the general population. Having an informed public is one of *the* key aspects of a democracy. Any dystopian book--Fahrenheit 451, 1984--demonstrates a distinct lack of free access to reading materials in a fascist state. For that matter, just look at Nazi Germany and the book-burnings. This is what pushed me over the edge into becoming a librarian.

Jul. 14, 2008, 7:38pm

I had a patron ask me if we had a summer reading book in. I told him there was a waiting list and happened to comment that I'd read the book and enjoyed it. The patron's father said, "You must love reading." His son replied, "Of course she loves reading dad, why else would she be working in a library?" I just smiled and added the son to the wait list for the book. People do think we sit and read all day.

Jul. 22, 2008, 1:37am

I am a Librarian, b/c I don't know all the answers, but I know where to find them.

So my understanding was that there was no more MLS, my Library school is now called sis not Lis even though it is one of the oldest library programs in the nation.

Being a librarian, imho, is hip, especially if you work with teens. I am a rockstar in my library ... people tell me their kids love me and I find all the coolest books.

Plus I call teens young adults ... what could be cooler!

Jul. 22, 2008, 1:48am

i dont shelve anymore, but customers always catch me in the stacks searching for my own books or when i am looking over my collections. i always get more questions when i am in the stacks. we are sometimes scheduled for roving schedules. that is when we walk around the public lib and just ask if people need help. customers always grab me for questions when i am showing where things are ... it is so fun!

btw, i started out shelf reading and shelving. but i like the people interaction so much more

Bearbeitet: Aug. 9, 2008, 7:09pm

I'm a retired librarian who started out in reference work and wound up in computers. One of our partners was the Park Department so I got a chance to become friends with the Park Director. One of our standard jokes was to accuse each other: Chuck would accuse me of reading books all day long. I would accuse him of just mowing the lawn.

I also spent some time in bookstores. Compared to working at the reference desk in a public library, I knew more about book trends by working in a bookstore. I knew all the bestseller lists by heart, upcoming trends, release dates, 'best books about,' and even SKUs. (Before computers and barcodes there were stock keeping unit numbers tagged on each book. You memorized those for popular titles when you punched them manually into the cash register.) It wasn't anything I did, particularly, but the fast pace of a busy bookstore has you learning this stuff automatically. We even knew patrons' typical reactions to books:

"Oh, mama! Jaws!" was my favorite, which dates me, I'm afraid.

Aug. 9, 2008, 8:53pm

Message # 18: Thats actually me most of the time - one of those readers who need the right conditions. Though, me being home-schooled and all, conditions are usually quite comfy. But, I have been known to stop a book just to brush my teeth 'cause my breath was annoying me... I'm just a little ADD'd if you will lol. Never diagnosed, but I feel like I have a short attention span. I see too many people today paying good money for people to diagnose 'em, when they could do a bit of research of their own, yes?

Anyhow - me, as a want-to-be-librarian, I really don't know my true aspirations behind my wanting to go into this field. Eh, I've always admired my local librarians, and I see them as lifetime information - just locked up in one friendly smile =). I like helping people, I like to read (the dreaded reason), and I love retaining in as much information as I can.

Okt. 1, 2008, 9:52pm

I'm a Technology Librarian in a public library. In my job rarely even get to interact with books let alone having time to read them at work. To keep my hand in with reading, very useful if I'm sent to the library desk, we started up a bookclub at our work place. We started by having our club in lunch breaks but that wasn't practical so now we have it once a month on Sunday's. The club enables us to have an excuse to read and gives us a time frame.

I came into libraries because I loved them. I love libraries because they encompass the things that I adore: reading, books, information, people, technology, architecture and a sense of community

Okt. 2, 2008, 5:44pm

cjoats, that's a perfect line! "I love libraries because they encompass the things that I adore: reading, books, information, people, technology, architecture and a sense of community." I can't think of a better way to sum up what I love about working in a library.

Okt. 3, 2008, 11:51am

So many people still believe that we librarians just sit around reading all day! Kind of amazing.

It's a big career bonus to be a big-time reader, which I am, but I think it's more important to have that sense of wanting to help people with their needs and interests. Virtually all forms of librarianship boil down to this, if you think about it.

Okt. 3, 2008, 1:20pm

I just read about this complaint in one of my MLS readings (The author said that a common thing librarians hear is "Oh you're a librarian? You must love books!")

While I am studying to become a librarian and love reading, love of books is only partly the reason I want to go down this path. I also love research, looking things up, and figuring things out, solving mysteries no matter how inconsequential or small. It's kind of like the thrill of solving an equation and knowing you got it right.

When I did an internship at a library years ago, the only reading I did on the job was for an exhibit I put together. There wasn't time between research, administrative work, and talking to patrons to sneak some leisurely reading in!

Okt. 3, 2008, 4:45pm

Its funny because its not the books I like... its whats inside that I like more. Information, knowledge and helping people find that is why I became a Librarian. I am not very organized and hate to organize books let alone other things but the one reason why I became a librarian is "the hunt". Researching and finding that elusive "thing". That one piece of information that someone is looking for. That is why I became a Librarian.

Okt. 5, 2008, 11:18am

I am still in library school but plan to graduate next spring, 2009. I agree that liking to read is not sufficient or complete as a reason to pursue a library career. I would add that I want to do this because of a desire to teach people how to find, evaluate, and use information--the information literacy instruction part of the field.

Okt. 5, 2008, 11:58am

I also find that a lot of people assume librarians love to read (along with the "you have to have master's degree?!!?"). Not so long ago, one of my new acquaintances made the "you must love to read" comment, and my response was so sharp and vehement that I don't think my poor friend will ever forget. In fact, I recently heard her telling other people that librarians are not crazy readers and then I had to do some damage control. It's not that we don't read or even love to read, it is just that it is not our sole defining purpose as a librarian. Thus, now I am careful how I explain what, how, and why I do my library work.

Okt. 8, 2008, 12:46pm

109 - oh dear, that reminds me of the last time someone mentioned those d**n gloves when I said I'd done a Special Collections project. ARGH I roared - then I rememberd that it was the first time they had asked the question, even if it was the millionth time I'd heard it!!!

Okt. 14, 2008, 3:26pm

I wanted to write, so I became an English Major...I had no time to write much of anything except research papers. I love to read, so I went for my MIS and became a librarian. Now I don't have time to read or write.

Okt. 15, 2008, 12:16pm

^I actually find librarian to be a good day job for a writer, because generally (although I'm sure there are exceptions), you don't have to take your job home with you.

That's part of the reason why I'm not terribly interested in library director positions. I don't want to spend all of my time worrying about budgets. ;-)

Okt. 15, 2008, 1:09pm

112 - but isn't that part of being a librarian? You worry about budgets because you have to make sure you don't spent all of your book ordering in one month. And then you realize that the three programs you wanted to do in the spring, can't be done, because your colleague's programs used up half the programming budget and you have a bunch of other things to do. And then you learn that you have buy more databases and fewer reference books ... Not that every day is like that, sure. But a lot of it.

Okt. 15, 2008, 5:03pm

^Oh, I don't disagree. But I don't want to be personally responsible for worrying about university or city budgets, when officials say "hey library! sorry, but your $20,000 book budget has just been cut to $5,000!" I don't want to worry about laying off the staff under me. Sure, those worries affect every employee in a library, but I didn't want to be losing sleep over it at home every night, anxious because of the tremendous responsibility.

I hope I haven't given the wrong impression -- I do take library work very seriously, and take pride in what I do, especially the bibliographic instruction. But I don't want my day job to consume my life.

Okt. 30, 2008, 6:49pm

Amen to being a lower social status in the school system. For 13 years I have been "the babysitter." In fact I have been told, "We don't care what you do so long as I can have my break from the little monsters".

Dez. 14, 2008, 2:57pm

I read somewhere that people who want to become librarians because they like to read don't realize that this is a customer service job first and foremost.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 23, 2009, 3:39pm

But don't you love the feeling of knowing the new books that are coming and getting excited about the reviews in Library Journal, and love finding the right reader for every book..

I went to library school after never having worked in a library before because I decided I liked research and wasn't sure how to get someone to pay me (an English and Philosophy major) to do it otherwise.

#115.. the worst library job I ever had was when I was substitute teaching. The ad said half a day of librarian. I thought that sounded great (even though I was hung over from the night before). I get there and find out I had been assigned as the lunch monitor / security guard for the day instead. Middle school lunch with a hangover is a HORRENDOUS experience.

Jan. 25, 2009, 6:18am

I started my library studies because I'd reached a lull in my life and, looking over the local Tafe courses, it was one thing I liked the sound of. I suppose part of the reason I signed up was my love of books and being around them, but also my up to scratch tech skills. I was sort of drawn to it.

Of course, like many I realized when I started that it was about more than that, but I turned out to be practically a natural when it came to cataloguing. And although that's only one part of the job, I'm fortunate to live in the same city as a national library, so I get the privelige of focusing on that area.

I guess my point is that people become librarians for a whole slew of reasons - if they stick it out, and love it, whatever reason they got into it for isn't that relevent. If something isn't for them, they'll drop out of it.

Jan. 26, 2009, 8:25am

Bibliomane and Katya0133 have hit the nail on the head. Those are the right reasons for becoming a librarian. I have less time to read books - I spend a lot of time with professional journals and book reviews. I also have to spend a lot of time reading books outside my comfort level/interest for book group purposes. However, I really have to consider that a perk. I've read some great books that I normally would have passed up.

Jan. 26, 2009, 8:10pm

Ideally, one would be well-read in order to recommend books and develop the catalogue (and, of course, being generally educated and knowledgeable is an end in itself).

In reality, libraries are actually one of many forces promoting illiteracy and a slavish dependence on computers, so being well read is pointless. Since librarians have less and less control over the catalogue and the entire library industry is obsessed with circulation numbers rather than offering quality books or educating the public, librarians today can get by without ever reading a thing besides library card applications and call numbers.

Love to read? Great! Prepare for a library career that will leave you bitter and cynical! Now go weed some books!!!

Jan. 27, 2009, 1:03pm

I have worked in libraries since I was 14 years old and was tapped on the shoulder by the high school librarian who found me in the library all the time! Except for brief stints at a newspaper circulation department, and even briefer waitressing, I have worked in academic, public, library network, and now school libraries, and even a volunteer church librarian. I have loved every one of them. I LOVE to read, and now that my children are out of the house (empty nest is a wonderful thing!) have time to do so--(I found that being a MOM cut into my reading time more than being a LIBRARIAN!). I love having "first pick" of the new books that come in. But I also really like "knowing" stuff or "finding out" stuff--I enjoy researching as much as reading for pleasure. I think many of us public and school librarian walk that line--wanting to instill a love of reading as well as getting information.

btw, as much as I love my vocation, my absolute Dream Job would be to be the guy who writes the answers/questions for Jeopardy!

Jan. 27, 2009, 2:11pm


By "quality books," do you mean "books I like" and by "obsessed with circulation numbers," "people actually come to the library and I can't sit in the corner and read Melville?"

Jan. 30, 2009, 1:18pm

I am going to library school and I was talking about a book when we went to register and one person in my library school told me that they did not read. I about died. I asked if maybe they meant they do not read fiction but no they do not read unless they have have to for work. It made me sad. I love reading and want to be a young adult librarian/youth services or readers advisor but not reading at all for fun and being in library school made me sad.

Feb. 14, 2009, 9:41am


I don't drink the market populist kool aid.

The obsession with circulation numbers (done at the expense of creating unique catalogues and promoting quality literature) has actually lead to a decline in circulation. Obviously libraries should have Stephen King and Harry Potter and all that stuff, but what's the point of public libraries if people are only coming to use Myspace on the public computers and check out popular fiction? The path we're on is leading to a world where libraries (or certainly librarians) are obsolete.

Feb. 17, 2009, 1:56pm

Source on the obsession with circ numbers causing a decline in circ? For that matter, source on there being a decline in circ?

The point is that people aren't only coming in to use Myspace and check out popular fiction, and it's disingenous to try to isolate these patrons from the "good" patrons. We circ plenty of non-fiction and answer a slew of reference questions, and we might not have the resources to do so if we blocked Myspace, stopped buying Patterson and generally did our best to tick off the source of most of our funding, whether that be through taxes or donations.

Moreover, libraries have always served as an equalizing force, and providing computer access free for all is no less important than it is to provide book access free for all. What do you say to the transplanted patron who uses Myspace to keep in touch with her family and friends at home? She's wasting your precious library resources? Can you justify blocking Yahoo Games in a way that doesn't also justify pitching the 790s?

Libraries will never be obsolete because it isn't about popping out books, it's about giving people access to information. I don't care if that information is a three-dimensional video encoded on a holographic cube, I'm game.

Feb. 17, 2009, 2:28pm

For all I care, if someone finds a more efficient way to provide the same services libraries are providing, by all means let them become obsolete. I'm very glad that doctors decided that bloodletting is obsolete.

Who works in a library and doesn't feel obsolete yet

Feb. 18, 2009, 4:34pm

I am doing a librarianship course at the moment, which I enjoy immensely. Although I know that there is much truth in librarianship having a lot to do with information retrieval etc. like some of the people above have pointed out, I still believe that a love of the material (books in the first place) is really important - not the least because you'll understand your patrons and their needs better.
But maybe this belief reflects most of all my particular interest in public libraries where the enjoyment of reading seems to be more prevalent.

Feb. 18, 2009, 4:36pm

I can relate to that. I am also especially interested in readers' advisory work in public libraries. The idea of going to library school and actually not liking reading at all is strange.

Mrz. 11, 2009, 10:20pm

What they should be saying is "I want to be a librarian because I love information". That's why I want to do it. Reading, sure it's great, but it's just a way to get the information. And to want to work with the information on a daily basis, that's what it takes. That's what appeals to me.

Mrz. 23, 2009, 12:17pm

I've just got a book out of my local city library. The Baroque Guitar, which comes with a cd, and you're advised to check for it on the libraries date stamp sheet attached. So I go to the counter and ask for the cd, although its a newish book I ask to check the cd to make sure it's playable i.e. its surface isn't overly scratched. The library assistant shows me the mint surface and asks "well do you want It?" She says can't be checking the surface, or, more likely, get out of some loop regarding the true nature of her work, which to my mind is an efficient and reliable dispenser of media who hasn't a difficult attitude regarding service work.

Mrz. 26, 2009, 12:42pm

Alternatively, I cringe visibly when I hear librarians say they have no need of books. If you work with books all day of course it helps if you love to read. It's the same in any service industry. You have to love working with people and love the product too.

Mrz. 26, 2009, 4:37pm

>131 ashmolean1:

Ahh, but is "the product" really _books_ anymore? I'd say that librarians are in the business of information and stories. Some of that happens to come packaged in books, but that's not all there is these days.

I want to be a librarian, not because I love books and reading (though I do), but because I love knowledge, learning, and teaching.

Mrz. 26, 2009, 6:14pm

I was originally a bioinformatics major and what I loved about it was the concept of information management. When I realized I was unhappy in a science degree I decided to combine my love of books with my desire to work in the information field to become a librarian. I am not so much interested in spreading a love for books as I want to help people access information which is vitally important to a person's intellect and freedom.

I'm planning on working in the management/research end of the buiness.

Mrz. 28, 2009, 10:19am

I have studied Library and Documentation Science in Spain, I like reading and I'm here, in LibraryThing. I love my work because we can help to the people to find a better work, to achive a better bussines or... to dream. Do you know something about booktherapy??

Mrz. 28, 2009, 6:38pm

You may like/love books, but there certainly is a lot more to the profession than than. Unless you're in technical services, you'd better like information as a whole and people. This can be a very public-oriented profession.

Jul. 18, 2009, 3:04am

I have to be honest, I don't understand how someone can promote a love of reading to other people if they don't love it themselves, so I think the thread title is a very good reason to be a librarian - so long as it's not someone's _only_ reason for it.

I learned to read by the time I was two-and-a-half, and I haven't stopped doing it since. I'm twenty-three now, and have over two thousand books - this in two rooms of a shared house.

I love to read, and I love to learn new things. I like researching, cross-referencing between fiction and non-fiction, sorting things... I'm mildly obsessive-compulsive, so it makes me twitchy when I see a shelf of books that aren't alphabetised in some way. I've been known to stand in front of the FSF bookcase in my local library for an hour or more (why there is only one in the city central library, I shudder even to think), taking down and reshelving all the books in that bookcase in alphabetical order by author's surname, then first name, then title. (Yes, an hour - it was not one of my 'good' OCD days.)

I've wanted to be a librarian since I was very small, even though I struggle when it comes to dealing with people, because information and the processing of it is something I love. Unfortunately, I can't take that step at present because I suffer from chronic illness that has disabled me to the point where I have trouble taking care of myself and my books, let alone other people's. Someday, perhaps I will be able to do it - but I doubt I will ever be able to truly understand anyone who doesn't love books. Not that I wouldn't try.

Jul. 21, 2009, 9:17pm

Well here are my reasons (I haven't started my program yet, so feel free to tell me if you think I should just forget about it)

I love reading (why would you ever want to be a librarian if you didn't?)
I love the smell of books
I love touching books
I love looking at books
I am obsessed with LoC (my entire personal library is kept organized by LCC {around 1500 books})
I love sorting
I love filing
I enjoy quiet (although from what I've read in this group quiet libraries seem to be a thing of the past)
I'm good at putting up with stupid people and stupid questions (I currently work in commercial sales and customer service)

Jul. 23, 2009, 4:08pm

I'm a librarian and I love reading, but it really is possible to be both effective and fulfilled as a librarian without a love of reading. As others have outlined, there are all sorts of positions within a library that do not touch on reader's advisory or working with children. (You probably do need to love reading to do those two jobs.) There are all sorts of libraries out there that don't even carry fiction. Most simply, think about law librarians.

I think a lack of interest in research would be more debilitating for most librarians than a lack of interest in reading.

My reading habits had nothing to do with my choice to go to library school. I came at it through the database management side.

Jul. 23, 2009, 4:39pm

^ benuathanasia, sounds like you're a natural! ;-)

Jul. 24, 2009, 9:54am

Thank You!
I am a high school librarian, just moved up from the middle school where we lose a lot of readers. My passion is to help the kids find what they like to read. Practice is what they need to become better readers, and to get ahead in today's world you do need to be able to read. I read a lot of the kids books--how else will I know what to help them find? I don't have to grade papers at night--I get to read. (DH also channel surfs--hard to watch tv that way for me. :)) One of my teachers lamented my leaving--"Who will help them get excited about books?" My answer "The new librarian." I know she reads, too.

Oh--I am loving the high school books, fiction is my favorite, anyway. The MO Gateway Award nominees list is awesome this year. I post book reviews on my facebook page and the kids actually read them. Beastly checked out five times in four weeks after I reviewed it.


Yes, I help with all the research, too. I also teach internet safety, I answer questions. I don't get to read at school. Bummer. It's also summer! Take my daughter to the pool and read! Woo hoo!

Jul. 25, 2009, 11:33pm

Well, I do love to read and that is one of the reasons I'm getting my MLIS. I also just love books and libraries in general. But of course with my love of books and reading (and grammar and spelling, etc.), what I want to do is pass on my passions for these things - to encourage reading and get them excited about it. Sure, there are lots of other reasons for becoming a librarian.

Aug. 6, 2009, 11:05pm

I love books.

I am a librarian.

Actually, I'm the assistant branch manager for a library in Colorado - where you don't have to have a MLS to work there.

I used to pick up garbage at a race track, scoop ice cream at a dairy, clear freight through US Customs and teach 12 - 17 year olds. I read every day.

Now that I'm a librarian, I read every day.

Not at work...when would I have time with scheduling, collection development, outreach, and the other 2, 000, 000 things I do every week?

In a public library setting...I am that someone who goes home every night with 5 - 10 books to read and review. I am that person who has read James Lee Burke and Henry James.

I love books.

I cried when I went to Dublin and saw the Book of Kells, it was just that beautiful.

I go to libraries on vacation and bookstores all the time. I couldn't be the kind of librarian I am without the time I take to read. Or the love I have for the act of reading and books.

Just saying.

Aug. 7, 2009, 9:33am

#142, Beret Brenckman, I think that is a wonderful comment, and you say precisely what I would have said. How could I pull the right book off the shelf for elderly Mr. and Mrs. R to read aloud to each other, how could I tell the busy young Mrs. W to grab such and such book, if I didn't completely love and read so much of our collection myself? We are all about info and basic social services and reference, etc. But we are a tiny public library and at the heart of what we do with the children and adults is -- engender a love of reading/thinking/imagination.
No tv in my house at night after work and chores. Just books. Well okay, and the occasional game of cheater Scrabble.

Aug. 7, 2009, 10:14am

# 44 way to go -- that's exactly the point.

Sept. 25, 2009, 2:04pm

I read all the time - mostly not at work.

How about reasons for becoming a librarian like... (these are all academic library related ones, because that's where I've always worked) --

"I want to be a librarian because I love working with college/grad students and professors."

"I want to be a librarian because I want to work at a university where the pay isn't stellar, but the hours are steady, and state universities generally have good retirement."

"I want to be a librarian because I never want to leave college / grad school."

Sept. 25, 2009, 3:14pm

Being a librarian used to be mostly about books before 1990.
Libraries have changed so much during the last 20 years like many other professions.
Now some knowledge about databases and computers is important.
It is impossible to read everything, but you need to know how to get it.

No matter what kind of library one is talking about there is people looking for information. If they are happy after getting your help, then you can see yourself as a good librarian.

Whatever reasons you may have to become a librarian, remember that you are providing services to people needing them.

Sept. 25, 2009, 6:56pm

#4: I am always thrilled when I hear a paraprofessional is getting their MLS/MLIS. I work with so many amazing Library Technicians and Clerks who really know so much about what the public needs and how the system in general works because of their experience that I think they absolutely *should* get their professional credentials. The credentials help you participate in a wider context and so many paraprofessionals have such a wealth of experience to draw on that by positioning themselves to become more involved in libraries, they're doing us all a *huge* favour.

As for me, I applied to Library School because a) someone told me I'd most likely find the program engaging and b) I wanted a career. I didn't much like my prospects of finding full-time permanent work if I had chosen to continue in a more academic stream (I have a BA in History). As much as I loved my honours program, I am fully aware of how few tenured jobs there are for people who choose to go all the way through to their PhD, and I really craved stability.

It was only once I was in my MLIS program that I realized how much I love the connections between people and information - and how most people really don't know how crucial their interpretation of the information they come across is to their progress (personal or professional).

I currently spend my days helping to maintain our ILS from a collections management and cataloguing perspective, as well as supervising the processing department for one region in our library system. These are things that no one ever sees - the non-public service side of librarianship/library management. They are certainly not things I knew about prior to entering Library School or to some degree, prior to starting my job.

The biggest satisfaction I get as a librarian is knowing I work for an organization whose core mission is to help people better themselves and to connect them with information of all kinds: whether for creative purposes, for leisure, or for work or education.

Sept. 26, 2009, 1:31am

>3 inkdrinker: Ouch. I've spent 19 years of my life as a school librarian, and if anyone thought that, I managed not to notice! I ran a good library, and everyone got something from my efforts.

Sept. 28, 2009, 11:48am

#148, I so agree! I spent 8 years in a school district that totally supported their library program--a library coordinator at the admin level, a degreed librarian on every campus, a decent-to-above average budget. I made myself high profile, by providing an attractive (to students and teachers) library, with high-quality reading and nonprint materials, collaborative teaching w/ teachers, finding materials for teachers, and generally making myself essential to the entire school program. It impressed the heck out of students and teachers alike when I could just go to the shelf and pluck the book they needed, seemingly out of thin air!

Now I'm at a much smaller,rural district and finding that I have to make do with much less. I'm revamping the entire library program--updating a woefully out of date collectiion, and undoing a lot of negativity left from the previous librarian. My goal is to make it an attractive, non-threatening, fun place for students to learn, and to find good reading material. Teachers, students, administration, all seem to be happy with the changes.

I am happy with my "social status"--when a student sees me out of school, I have almost celebrity status, and that just makes me smile. :)

I've worked at academic, public, and school libraries in the last 30 years. Like teachers, social workers, and other public service workers, we do this because we love it, not because it pays a lot, or gives us social status.

And for a bit of humor on the importance of my profession, I suggest reading Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians--in which the librarian rule the world, because they keep all the knowledge!!

Sept. 28, 2009, 1:46pm

"I want to be a veterinarian because I love animals..."

...(so I want to be around sick, injured and suffering ones all day...)

People don't often have great initial reasons for choosing a profession. ;-)

Before I was a volunteer at the library, people always thought I worked there, anyway. I'm there all the time, I automatically ask people if they need help when they appear to be searching for a book, and I know where everything goes.
I don't know about working there, but I volunteer because I like to help people out and I'm pretty good at it.

Okt. 23, 2009, 10:43am

Because I loved to read, I loved being in a library. Because I loved being in a library, I wanted to be a librarian. That was my logic when I was 8 years old. Today I'm a librarian, and I still love to read. But if it were just about the books, then I would be just as happy (if not happier) in a book shop. IMHO book shops are not nearly as fun as libraries.

Okt. 23, 2009, 11:41am

Hi Katya,
let me add something else. I love to be a librarian because this is one of the most versatile jobs I can imagine. Our profession brings together a multitude of skills: organization, technology, books/reading, communication ... It is ideal for people who are gifted in many ways.
Best regards, librarianffm

Okt. 27, 2009, 8:31pm

I didn't want to be a librarian - I needed a job (like #42) and fell into this profession 5 years ago and can't believe I never considered it sooner even though I've always loved reading. I'm in my early 50's and this is the best job ever even with studying LIS on the side in my "spare" time.
I'd agree with #104: "cjoats, that's a perfect line! "I love libraries because they encompass the things that I adore: reading, books, information, people, technology, architecture and a sense of community." I can't think of a better way to sum up what I love about working in a library."
I love the variety and satisfaction, finding that obscure fact or paper, knowing how to search and being able to use those skills to help others. I love bringing order out of chaos like #91. I love the customer service focus and professionalism - it's a marvelous job - not sure about "hip" but inspiring and not one to be apologetic about.
I used to consider myself a "good" library user and so I was all the years at school, university, working and mothering. Then I came to work in our local public library and realised I only scratched the surface of what a library has to offer...

Jan. 5, 2010, 6:27pm

I have just been working on my application to start my master's. I have seriously thought about this career for the past 2 years, and just now gotten up the courage to apply. I have been a high school English teacher for the past 10 years, and the grading is starting to wear on me...I *gasp!* love to read and love books, but I am also a teacher, and love to help kids and teach. But I don't love the grading and the parents and the conferences and things like standardized testing...as a librian, I can still love books and reading, and help and teach without the extras teachers have to deal with. I can't wait to start my program and begin the new direction in my career!

Jan. 5, 2010, 11:00pm

I've always loved to read, but rarely had time for it while I worked as a librarian for 40 years. Have been retired for 2 1/2 years now and love to read, read, read. I became a librarian because I liked to do research and find answers to my own and other people's questions. How wonderful that there is a profession in which one can get paid (oh so much!!!) to do that. Have worked in a graduate-level academic research library, an undergraduate academic library, a public library reference department and been a public library children's librarian. There is a great deal of satisfaction in knowing how to find information for oneself and others. It is very rewarding to teach others how to locate information, verify its validity and put it to use. It's also cool to just let people think that you know all these things, without them realizing it's more accurate to say that you know how to find about about things.

Jan. 8, 2010, 8:56am

A librarian is truly a "jack of all trades." (I won't add the next part...) I love the fact that I do something different every day, but let's face it, none of us got into the trade because we hated books and reading. So let's all admit that we're geeks, and if being a geek is now cool, then that's great. (I haven't noticed salaries going up because of it...but we also didn't get into it for the money either!)

Jan. 9, 2010, 5:29am

I started out as a b ookseller and though that was more fun than being a librarian because of the time I spent finding the right book for people, and the joy of choosing the stock - OK I was a bit ignorant!
Shame that I can't avoid the budget in either!

Jan. 9, 2010, 8:56pm

In a recent Christmas card to an old friend, I included the info that I was in grad school pursuing my MLS. She responded: "Oh that's perfect! You'll enjoy all that time to read." ;)

Feb. 20, 2010, 6:27pm

I agree with you. I had a professor who said "It should be considered malpractice when a librarian doens't like to read"--that said I have also had people say to me "Oh, I wish I had a job where I could sit and read all day"!! No kidding. I have never read a book at work. They are the same people who think we have NO stress. LOL
There are many reasons I became a librarian, but among them are the fact that I have a passion for reading, books, and people. It makes my job fun. I have worked with people who fell into the profession and they are not the best representatives of our profession.

Feb. 23, 2010, 3:54pm

Someone who writes abstracts - now there's a job for someone who likes to read. You'll hate reading soon enough...

I have to admit, since I received my MLIS in 1999, my interest in reading has dropped significantly. Holding a book in my hands is low on my list of interests when I get home. I'd rather socialize, so I talk on the phone or chat online. The cat has learned to insinuate himself between the book in my hands and my face. Now, after facing the public all day, or a mound of journals, or committee meetings, what's better - staring at a cat and making him happy or reading? The cat lowers my blood pressure.

I'm a head of a library reading group, and I do not enjoy the books that the group selects. Will I read a Stephenie Meyer book? Absolutely not. Will I look for discussion questions and present them in an open-ended way? Most certainly.

If my total reading time is limited, I'd rather start with the newspaper and the New Yorker, move to something like the new Patricia Highsmith biography, and read the titles the book group suggests, and the latter not because I want to. It's like grading papers.

So should I have been a librarian? I don't believe in Sunday-morning quarterbacking, so I'll say proudly that I like public service and reference work. It's great being someone who might be the only significant social connection a patron might have during the week. I enjoy being with people at the front desk, finding materials on the shelves or titles to buy and strengthening our collection. But sadly, the joy of reading is lost to me. I'd like to do something else for a living.

Feb. 28, 2010, 8:07pm

^vesuvian, I'm so sorry to hear that, but it sounds as though you know yourself well (so many people cannot figure themselves out!), AND you know how to relax when you're not working. Which is the most important thing. And it sounds like you do a great job at work!

Mrz. 2, 2010, 4:09am

One of my teachers at library school (Munich, Bavaria) once said:
"You want to be a librarian, because you like reading. When you become a librarian, you'll learn to hate books. But when you ARE a real librarian - you'll love them desperatly."

(I hope this translation is correct. Need more practice ;-)

Mrz. 25, 2010, 12:59pm

I have just decided that I want to be a librarian, I am leaning towards Children's librarianship. I am not a student yet but I am studying for my GRE, looking at schools and trying to find a paraprofessional job or volunteer at a local library. I want to be a librarian because I want to share my love of reading and books with people. I want to inspire children to a lifetime of reading. I must admit, when I was thinking about what I wanted to do next in my life, it was my love of reading that lead me to consider librarianship, but it was my love of sharing knowledge that made me decide this is what I want to do.

Mrz. 31, 2010, 10:33am


Good for you, and best of luck! When I was growing up we had a wonderful public library. My mom and I really enjoyed going there together, and it inspired a love of reading in me. I became a librarian as a career change (I was 34 when I finished my M.L.S.) and I wish I had thought of it ten years sooner!

Apr. 5, 2010, 4:47pm

"I want to be a veterinarian because I love animals..."
...(so I want to be around sick, injured and suffering ones all day...)

Hilarious. I am about halfway through my MLS. I do love reading but I'm learning every day that there's so much more to it than reading. I always wanted to be a professional reader :) but it seems like being a professional chocolate eater or fancy resort reviewer...

Apr. 9, 2010, 10:02pm

I became a librarian because I love reference work. In library school I learned that as a librarian I didn't need to know all the answers, I only needed to know how to find all the answers. Wow, thought I, it can't get any better than that. I get a rush when a patron asks for information, especially when I am asked a specific question for the very first time and I am not quite sure where I'll find the information requested by the patron. I guess it's the thrill of the hunt! I'm retired now, but still volunteer once a week in a research library. I still get a thrill when I find the answer to a patron's query ... although finally, in retirement, I am enjoying more pleasure reading than I have done since I was a teenager.

Apr. 10, 2010, 4:18pm

I'm not a professional librarian, although it is a dream of mine, but I do volunteer as our church librarian. If I didn't love reading, and read on a regular basis, how could I suggest books to my friends (aka patrons). If I hadn't grown up reading and encouraged reading so much in my own children, how could I suggest books for their children? I read a variety of things - fiction, biographies, histories, political writings, inspirational works, poetry, science fiction, and so forth.But I also have a love for the books themselves and collect antique books also. I love sharing the joy of books with others, esp. children. Books can awaken their imagination in a way nothing else can.

Apr. 11, 2010, 5:49pm

I love reading, but that's not what I enjoy out of library work - I don't read at work! I process things! I'm thinking about going to school for an MLS because I love the nitty-gritty fussy technical things that most casual library users don't think about.

I love it when I can find errors in our cataloguing system and fix them so people can find what they're looking for. I love cataloguing, putting all the crazy things we get into some semblance of organization so that people can find and use them. I love doing processing on items to get them out on the shelves and in the hands of people who need the information therein. I like finding information for people, and I'm seriously in awe of reference librarians and their crazy-mad information finding skills (they can find the answer to *anything*!) I've never yet had a day where I haven't liked my job.

That's why I'm thinking of becoming a librarian, not because I like to read.

Apr. 11, 2010, 7:26pm

A public library that I worked in had a "festival"(?) titled "Do Librarians Read?" The head librarian apologized to me for the title, saying "I suppose itʻs well known that they donʻt."

But, in reality "Librarians never read" is as much an exaggeration as the folk-bellief that their job consists of reading.

I think I wrote somewhere -- maybe in an alumni anniversary autobiography -- that. in the folklore of the profession, librarians are similar to bartenders: Iʻve never known a bartender who never drank, and only a very few who w ere
alcoholics. And Iʻve never known a librarian who never read, and very few who were "bookaholics".
I guess these both must be great professions for Moderates.