Librarian Memes- The good, the bad, and the ugly

Memes.. You just cannot escape them. It seems that there is a meme for everything you could possibly think of and a few you might not want to think about. I was looking for a good library meme for another blog post and came across some that made me do the following:

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It seems that no matter what we do Librarians cannot escape the cliche. Buns, shh, glasses, and cardigans will always be a part of our world. I confess that I do love a good cardigan and if I had the hair it might work its way into a bun. However, shh is just not part of my vocabulary.

There are a few good memes like the always classic Ryan Gosling and his “Hey Girl” quotes:

Cats:

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Summer Reading:

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Adorable kids:

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My favorite, WWII posters turned into library propaganda:

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And the “What they think I do”

 

 

Then there are the stereotype memes that I classify as The bad:

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imagesOMG! Enough with the shushing!!

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Again, have you been to library lately? We are busy and sometimes very loud. Come to story time and hear the littles singing along to “Pete the cat.”  It’s awesome! Having perfect silence can be nice after a busy day.  However, I actually love the chatter. Especially in the teen department when they get into a checker or Apples to Apples battle! Then it’s non stop laughs from teenagers having a great time with their friends in a safe environment. What’s not to love about that?

The Ugly memes: These are the memes that just make me want to scream.

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Think all librarians are old and boring? Check out the Tattooed librarians Calendar. Browse the Librarian Wardrobe Tumblr site. We are a cool and eclectic bunch! Still not convinced? Check out “This is what a librarian looks like.

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This..

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naughty librarian

 No.. just no.. The whole “sexy librarian” thing makes me want to vomit. Just stop. Women and men are more than just a sexy costume.

Finally, this rage inducing meme for those of us that work public libraries:

I get a version of this nearly every week from random patrons. “Gee, you must love getting to read all day!”  Or “I really hate people but I love reading. I am thinking about becoming a librarian.” I cannot tell you the last time I had a chance to just sit and read at work. Maybe on my lunch break but certainly not on the clock. There are too many other things to do in the library besides reading. Customer service is first and foremost. Then I have to make sure the shelves are weeded and straightened, update our upcoming program displays, post things to our teen blog, plan upcoming programs, answer emails, work on training, enter new books into the system, run monthly programs for our teens, do outreach at the local schools… the list could go on.

Also, if you hate people then the public library should not be a career path you should travel.

I confess there are days when I get frustrated with behavior issues, rude comments, chasing adults out of the teen department despite the 20+ signs that say reserved for teens only, or other issues that crop up at the worst possible moment and make me question the state of humanity. It’s the curse of working with the public. However, I do have more days filled with awesome patrons who make up for all the issues that I have ever had to deal with. For example, I have a group of Middle School students that come in every Tuesday for a study group. They are always happy to see me and they ask me to hang out with them so we can chat about fandoms, books, movies, relationships, and well everything under the sun. I also get to help people find information, whether it’s online or book related. That is the best part of my job. Helping others.

Love them or hate them, the memes are here to stay. As with any job there are lots of misconceptions to overcome. No one is immune. The best we can do as librarians is to help our patrons and inspire them to see the library as more than just a warehouse of dusty old books. We have a duty to inspire, empower, and inform the masses. Once that happens… bam:

Letting go of titles..

When I started grad school my end objective was one that every student strives for.. finding an epic job. I wanted the title and the ability to work with children and teens in a really great library setting. Being a official Librarian was a huge goal for me. So, after graduation I hit the job search as hard as I could, determined to find the perfect fit. Unfortunately, life threw a pretty big curve ball into the mix with a surgery that took me out of the hunt for 4 months.

A few months after recovery I found it. The perfect job with the perfect title and duties. Luckily I got it.

Youth Services Librarian…  Yeah, it was awesome!

I had made it into the world of Library folk. I was going to do big and wonderful things. I could add that title to my resume and FB profile. I was a real Librarian! I just forgot one small thing.. Titles aren’t everything. Especially when you refuse to acknowledge your limitations.

I often joke with my parents that if they had had more kids I wouldn’t have ended up with all the defective genes. My health is not the greatest and not the worst. It hovers right smack dab in the middle with a slight lean to the left that keeps me from running any marathons. It also has limited my employment status more than I care to admit. So, after the big surgery that was supposed to fix everything; I was extremely optimistic that I had finally overcome and could move into full time employment status. I ignored my Doctors recommendations and pretty much decided that I was going to do it all no matter what.

Yeah.. bad idea. Six months into my full time job my body pretty much gave up. I was in the middle of the Summer Reading program at our library when it all fell apart. If you have ever done SRP in a public library you know that it takes Herculean strength at times to get through the day. It is not just busy, it is manic. Don’t get me wrong.. it is also really fun. But you need a decent immune system to help you through it.

I ended up in the Doctor’s office with more tests and the recommendation that I go part-time before I got to the point where I would (and I quote my very serious Doctor) “never work again.” Whoa.. wait? Never work again?  Give up my full time job? Are you kidding me?? Yep, kids she was very serious. I was very stubborn. I didn’t want to give it up. Wouldn’t that mean I was a failure? That I couldn’t hack it as a Librarian?

Thankfully, I am blessed with a super supportive Mister and great friends who gave me wonderful advice. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but they said it anyway and I finally listened. But, it was still hard. I loved being a Youth Services Librarian. I felt like I had finally made it in life. My whole focus was on success and my silly job title. Yep.. obsessed with a title. Kinda sad right? I could delve into the cultural influence and yada, yada, blah, blah.. But I won’t. It was my own silly notion that I couldn’t be successful unless I was a full time employee that got me in that place.

After weeks of mulling it over and lots of whining that I am not proud of at all; I decided enough was enough. I walked in and sat down with my bosses and tearfully we all discussed my options. I am very blessed to work with compassionate people who don’t just see it’s employees as a means to an end. We found a solution and I walked away feeling more relief that I ever imagined.

I gave it up.. That silly title and the notion that I couldn’t be a real librarian without it. I chose my health and my future over business cards and a sense of superiority. It was hard. Holy wow was it hard. But, let me tell you how much better my journey is because of it.

A part-time Teen position opened up soon after and I am happy to say that I got it. I also really wanted the job. I love Teens. They are so much fun to work with and provide a way different dynamic than working with the little guys. They are wacky, funny, challenging, and pretty amazing even when they are difficult. This is where I needed to be. I feel at home in my skin and in my job. The title… who cares! I am still a Librarian who can make a difference.

With this came an attitude shift that needed to happen. I have stopped worrying about my resume and my accomplishments. I now know that it’s about the patrons and serving them to the best of my ability. I couldn’t do that when I was sick and miserable. Now, I am joyfully looking forward to my days and what new things I can do for the teens and our library to make it a better place. Yes, there are still stresses and not enough time in a day but it’s manageable. I love it!

Maybe someday I can do full time again or maybe I won’t. I know that being a librarian is not limited to what or how you work. It is a ingrained ability that is always there even if it is not on your name badge. I am more that the sum of my parts, abilities, or lack there of. The future is shiny thing that I can’t wait to discover each each week when I walk into the library doors.

VEB

 

 

Photos of the day: Research

School is back in session. That means lots of kids are going to be hitting the books. I recommend utilizing your library as much as possible and asking your friendly library staff for help. Not that I am biased or anything like that!

Doing this can lead to this without the help of a Librarian:

It’s my job to help you find the right article and database for you needs. I actually like that part of my job!

We don’t bite! I promise. Unless it’s a full moon and then all bets are off! Seriously, I really like helping people find the right book or article for their research. I also love helping patrons learn how to use the databases.

Lots of Libraries offer this service as well as many other options to get the help that you need. We have an ask  a librarian chat set up that is monitored during open hours.

Finally, if you are doing a major project and are stuck be sure to do this:

 

Welcome to my blog

 

Here lies the musings of a recent library graduate…

Sounds rather ominous right?! I have tried the whole blogging thing in the past and have struggled to maintain interesting posts in a timely manner. Recently I started writing for Geeky KOOL, which is a collaborative website featuring movie, book and product reviews that encompass all things geeky. It was there that I finally found my voice and a reason to write. My posts consist of book reviews and crafty tutorials for the everyday superhero fanatic. It’s a fun gig and it really stretches my imagination. However, my first love will always be in the world of Librarianship.

Here, I hope to branch out and feature book reviews, display ideas, links to awesome people, and other musings that strike my fancy. I currently work as a Library Clerical Assistant  for two schools in Springfield, MO. It is a fun and sometimes challenging job that is teaching more and more about the world of the School Librarian. I am not sure if this is where I will ultimately end up but for now I am enjoying the ride. I am certified in Children’s and Teen which will open the doors to public or private employment in the future.

If you want to learn more about me or my educational journey, check out my portfolio at:

http://www.valeriebogertsportfolio.com/index.html

 

~VEB