The Evil Librarian

I took my five year old daughter to the library last Friday. In fact, every Friday morning we go together. It’s our morning to hang out, just the two of us. I love it. But I hate the library.

We live in a nice town with resources. The library is up to date and modern, but it just aint’ hip. In fact it couldn’t be more un-hip!  Why?

The librarians are evil.

Where do they get these people? I mean, even the people at the DMV are friendlier.

Here’s my latest exchange with one of the Evil Librarians. Keep in mind that I start off being extra friendly. I’ve dealt with her before. Similar to the check out people at Kmart. I always feel like it’s my job to make THEM feel good.

My Encounter

I’m just standing there waiting for her. She’s on the computer and she puts up one finger for me to wait a minute. (Already I’m annoyed.)

Librarian: Can I help you?

Me: Yes, I looked up a book on the reference computer and it wasn’t coming up. I checked it out about six weeks ago so I think you have it here.

Librarian: Let’s take a look.

We walk over to reference computer.

Librarian: What’s the title?

Me: “Spaceship under the Apple Tree” (It was one of my favorite books as a kid. I want to read it to my kids.)

She types it in. Many books come up, but not that title. She tries again. Nothing.

Librarian: Obviously you’re way off on the title.

Now I’m really annoyed.

Me: Actually. No. That’s the title of the book and I’m pretty sure I checked it out six weeks ago from this branch.

Librarian: What’s the author’s name?

Me: Slobodkin. Louis Slobodkin.

She types it in. It comes up on screen. She’s annoyed that’s it right there. I’m annoyed that I didn’t just type in the author myself. Or just stayed home.

Librarian: Oh see, you spelled spaceship wrong. It’s really space ship.

There was a space between “space” and “ship.” It’s an old book, so maybe it was spelled that way when it was written. (I looked it up when I went home and it’s one word in Webster’s. But who cares!)

Me: That shouldn’t matter really.

Librarian: Well it does.

Me: Well Google wouldn’t have cared.(I know this is ridiculous, but I’m so pissed I didn’t know what to say)

Librarian:(Looking at computer screen) I don’t want to continue having this fight with you.

Luckily so far it’s all been quiet. My daughter is out of ear shot, but the librarian helper is nearby listening. But she stays out of it.

Me: Well you started it. (Now I sound like a complete idiot, but I’m in that pissed off state where I can’t think. (AKA: George Costanza)

Librarian turns and just stares at me with the most evil look ever. I’m sure many people have cowered under that icy glare. But not me. I finally get my wits about me.

Me: Well I don’t like being insulted.

At this point the librarian finally realizes she’s being a total bitch and that I’m actually a “paying” customer. I can see she’s struggling with what to do. I see her face change and she backs down.

Librarian: Well I didn’t mean it that way. I hope you know that.

Me: OK

But it’s not OK. WTF!!! She totally meant it that way. She’s done it to me before and to some of my friends in town. Half of the librarians there are like that.

The fact that I pay a lot of taxes is not the point really. What’s most relevant is how sad this is. What a waste! Not a waste of resources, but potential. The library could be such an inviting place, especially the kids section. A place where kids gather and build a community. A place where they can explore the magical world of stories and books. A place where they could learn how to use resources, so they can be resourceful. A place they could be excited to visit. It certainly was for me as a kid.

So I leave with my daughter’s hand in mine. I’m sickened and upset, but trying not to show it. Then my daughter looks at me and says, “Daddy, can we go to Dunkin’ Donuts?”

And at that point I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than share a doughnut with my daughter. And all is right again in the world. At least for that moment.


Please share your library or librarian stories. Good or bad.

17 Comments on The Evil Librarian

  1. My wife works at the public library here in town and I did for a few years as well. The staff in general is pretty friendly but there are a few sour apples. At present they’re so underfunded and understaffed it’s a wonder they ever have the time or inclination to crack a smile. When I worked there we had for a short time a supervisor who was the saddest, angriest person I’d ever met. Every day she created a new rule especially calculated to infuriate the public. One’s entire work day was spent confronting hostile patrons who were justly incensed by all the stupid regulations. I had no problem because I never followed the rules and always took the patron’s side. The supervisor finally quit and got a job as a bookkeeper in a dentist’s office which suited her personality a whole lot better.

  2. It sounds like you were punished for questioning the authoritah of the Queen of the Manor. Suggesting that SHE may have been the one in error could have resulted in your being banished to the dungeon. Consider yourself lucky!

    Fortunately for me, I don’t have any evil librarian stories… probably because I haven’t been in one since college. And I only WISH there were nifty computers to call up the books I wanted. I had to consult the dreaded Card Catalogue! Gah!

  3. I haven’t been to a library in forever. I tend to just hang out in bookstores. After reading this, I think I’ll keep it that way!

  4. As always, the GUYS crack me up. I can’t say that I’ve had bad experiences with librarians….although they do seem to always have an attitude, as if their time is much more valuable than ours. I know they don’t get paid much.
    “Google woudn’t have cared.” LOL!
    Merry, Merry,

  5. Google might’ve cared, as evidenced by the fact that there are 1,240,000 hits for “space ship”; 5,560,000 for “spaceship” (you see? more people spell it your way – this is true democratization of language); and 23,000,000 for space ship (without the quotes, the total hits are pretty meaningless – it would include how much cargo space a ship has, for instance).

    Most of the librarians I know are pretty cool people with a good sense of humor (they always seem to know the best puns).

    You might enjoy this: The Menace of the Public Option

    It’s a little off-topic, but what the heck.

  6. I’m afraid I feel the same way you do, I can’t remember specific things however, I don’t remember anything warm and fuzzy when school made me go to the library it was always painful and your right the librarians were awful I hated them.

    Please pop over to my site as I referred to you in my latest guys are the best…

    Dorothy from grammology

  7. I used to work in the library at college when I was getting my Masters degree as a graduate assistant. The woman who was my immediate boss was great! But some of the other people were not happy. They went around with sour faces and if You approached them even as a member of the staff, they weren’t warm.

    I agree that librarians need to smile more. I think especially in the children’s section you need librarians who show kids that books are fun to read and make them want to come back. I hope that experience didn’t make your daughter dislike going to the library.:)

    I’m also like you that when someone is being mean to me I just keep smiling and act sweet. It always makes them feel guilty. I have a feeling that the woman is miserable in her personal life and it’s spilling into the library. Library work can be very time consuming and tedious and add to that there are less librarians. So they have more work and if you have ever shelved books for awhile you will see how tiring and annoying that can be. I always like to give someone the benefit of the doubt until I see that is their real personality.

    I think to help your daughter feel better about the library you should bring her to the story hour if they have one. I’m sad to see a post like this about librarians.

  8. @Holly…….funny article. I checked it out. I’m flattered you did some research for me. Thanks!!!

    @Barbara……luckily my daughter had no clue what was going on. And she basically has no clue about the library. She likes it fine, so that’s good. I just see so much potential going to waste and that’s a big pet peeve of mine, with institutions, companies and most importantly people.

    @everyone…….I realize not all librarians are evil, just like not all people are evil. Sometimes one or two bad eggs color the entire landscape. I’ll keep my chin up. At least things ended OK with me and her. I try!

  9. First of all, I just have to say that it is too adorable that you take your daughter to the library. I wish my ex would have done stuff like that with my daughter when she was younger. You are an awesome dad.

    Second, you’re right, that is too bad the librarians at your library are so evil. The library should be a welcoming place where kids want to lounge around and explore all the books. It should be a fun place to visit.

    Have a great weekend!

  10. It’s a shame when the librarians are rude. Luckily our librarians are really nice except one I swear she is the wicked witch! It seems like it kills her to be nice. If she smiled I swear it would break her face. I love taking Brittany to the library she has fun playing with all the toys and hunting books.

  11. I know some librarians are rude …… but i had a good experience with the library where i visited. Nowadays, i usually hit the book stores if i want to read any book.

    I like your sense of humor… Well Google wouldn’t have cared…….. haha.

  12. Ugh what is up with librarians?! I go to my local library at least once a week and all of the ladies are seriously grumpy! I try to smile and even joke with them and they look at me as if I’m an alien! I’m so glad you told her she was insulting you. She shouldn’t disrespect her patrons! Libraries are magical places-complete with trolls to guard the entrance!!

  13. I loved this story, I could so feel your frustration and how argumentative we can get and can’t stop once it starts. And as far as I’m concerned that librarian was a total beeyotch. I’ll bet she’s just a miserable hag with nobody to love her. Poor thing. So just think of that the next time you see her and maybe that will keep you from getting pissed at her cranky ass.

  14. @date girl……so funny…..”Trolls to guard the entrance!”

    @Nanny Goats…..yes, she was a bitch. But I still laugh at my comments. I’m embarrassed and happy at the same time.

    @Raven…..thanks……she’s got me wrapped around her finger. And she already knows it at five. Now that’s annoying! 🙂

    @Stacie…..I’m glad most of your librarians are nice. I just don’t get why some aren’t. I mean they love books and all the people coming love books. Why can’t we just get along??!!

    @Shabnam…….the bookstore!! Yes, I may be going to them more often. At this rate, I won’t be allowed back in the library!

  15. I love to read, so I have run into more than my share of evil librarians. For some reason, most of the really evil ones wear those half glasses, I don’t know why, but it seems to work out that half glasses equals evil (except for Dumbledore, but that’s a little off topic.)

    Here in California, the librarians don’t dress like librarians. We have 2 male librarians that are always in flip flops and dressed like they’re headed for the beach. It is much more inviting, but if you don’t notice their little name tags it’s hard to tell the librarians from the patrons.

  16. The flip flops might freak me out. If I have a choice, I might stick with evil. At least I know what to expect!

  17. We have a really good library in Singapore, the problem is that the search program is from the dark ages and unless you know EXACTLY what you are looking for it won’t help you find the book / music / whatever. It is really sad.

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