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Library Updates

Oct 01

[ARCHIVED] Hazards of Being a Children's Librarian by Andrea Lorenz

The original item was published from October 1, 2021 10:39 AM to October 1, 2021 10:40 AM

While Children’s Librarian seems like a fairly innocuous job, it does have some very real hazards. Here’s a quick guide to the pitfalls of children’s librarianship.

andrea-banana1) Children’s Songs

Children’s songs are insidious earworms that will hook themselves into your brain and never ever ever let go. One sing through of “Let It Go” or “Baby Beluga” and you’ll be humming it all day, the same silly words on repeat over and over again. What’s worse is that your humming will infect your coworkers! You’ll all be trapped in a terrible loop of “Baby Shark” until you go slowly insane.

2) Spoilers

Children (bless their little hearts) do not have the executive functioning skills to stop themselves from spoiling whatever is the latest, hottest book. You’d better sneak the latest Dogman book out of the cataloger’s corner and read it under your desk if you want to enjoy it without being spoiled (because you better believe the holds list on that puppy* is at least ten deep).

3) Glitter

It doesn’t matter if you are so careful, if you wear an apron and gloves and goggles, if there is a craft with glitter, you will be going home with glitter on you somewhere (usually on your face – I don’t know how it gets there either!).

4) Wildly Inappropriate Stories

If you’ve hung around small children for any length of time, you know that they don’t have a filter. And they love to share! You will have to keep a straight face while a preschooler regales you with tales of their parent’s/sibling’s/neighbor’s embarrassing medical condition, practices their swear words, or makes an inappropriate observation about something or someone. You have to keep those laughs stuffed in deep until everyone leaves, you can sneak into the storytime room closet, or hit the bathroom.

5) Shushing

You will be shushed. I get shushed all the time. (They did not warn me about this in Library School.)

andrea-baby6) Growing Up

You will watch your very small friends grow from babies into toddlers then preschoolers. They’ll need your help finding chapter books and then you’ll chit chat about the latest and greatest book, but before you know it, you’re getting a graduation party announcement in the mail. It’s unavoidable†. Everyone grows up, but children’s librarians often get a front row seat to the magic of watching someone grow from a tiny bean to an independent human being. It’s a very real occupational hazard that inspires wonder and awe (and sometimes Kleenex).‡

*pun intended

† Unless you’re Peter Pan. Then all bets are off the table.

‡ (and don’t even get me started on those small friends having babies of their own. Oofda.)