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Funny Things People Say in Libraries
Librarians Treasure the Amazing Things People Say
I don't want to make you paranoid about talking to librarians, but sometimes we had a good laugh about something a library user said to us. Librarians love their library patrons and sincerely want to help them.
Funny situations do happen or someone says something without thinking it through. Here are the resulting humorous things people say in libraries. I hope you get a laugh or two from them (quietly, of course).
If you have a funny library story to tell, continue down to the guestbook at the very end. I'd love to hear it.
A Fun Story from My Library Days
One day while giving a group of students a tour of the library, I led the class down the hallway past the staff room. The door was open and several library staff members were taking their lunch break. One was heating something on the stove and several others were eating at the table.
Gazing in at this domestic scene, one young student asked,
Where do the librarians sleep?
Librarian Action Figure - Shhhhhh
Librarians get their own action figure modeled after an actual librarian named Nancy Pearl. She's a vinyl five-inches tall figure that will shush you when you press a button on the back of the figure. It even comes with a tiny plastic book.
Great gift for your local librarian who will have fun demonstrating it to everyone in the library.
Grown-Ups Say Funny Things Too
Another true library story
The library, where I worked in Maryland, installed a new security system for the books. Each book had a security device attached. The device would set off the security gate's alarm at the library's exit doors, if someone tried to sneak a book out without checking it out. This is similar to the security attachments and gates at many shopping malls.
A sign at the checkout desk informed library users of this new security feature. One library patron seemed puzzled by how the device would work. She asked,
Will it start beeping when my books are overdue?
Why You Should Be Nice to Librarians
Mouse in the Library
We had evidence of mice in the library kitchen where I worked in Reisterstown, Maryland. It had been nibbling the staff lunches. Finally one got caught by it's leg in the old-fashioned snap trap that the janitor placed under the sink.
No one could figure out what to do with the injured mouse. The simple solution would have been to drop the trap with the mouse into a bucket of water. Perhaps all the cute mice stories that we used for storytimes kept us from this easy solution.
When I arrived at work, I saw the branch manager putting an open box into her car. I asked if she was going to a meeting. "No," she said, "I'm taking this mouse to the vet. " I think the unfortunate mouse was put to sleep and out of its misery by the vet, who probably had a good laugh about how soft-hearted librarians are.
Thinking of a Library Career?
Many people think a library is such a nice place to work that librarians should volunteer their time. In fact, librarians in university libraries or public libraries are required to have a Master's Degree in Library Services. Usually the check-out staff are clerical positions and some very small or underfunded libraries hire para-professionals in place of librarians.
A random remark by a library user, brought this misconception home to me. The Library Director told several staff members that the paychecks were ready for pick up in the office. The library patron, overheard the remark and in an amazed tone, said....
You mean you get paid to work here?
Should Libraries Arrange Their Books by Color? - Enjoy these short videoes of animated bookshelves
If I only had a bookshelf like this and the books would rearrange themselves by colors. Sometimes people struggled to remember a book title or the author. Oddly enough, they would remember the color of the book's binding, but not the other essential information.
At times library patrons complained about books being on the wrong place on the shelf. I suspect while the library is closed, the books all move around like the ones in these videos. Some don't make it back to their correct spot before the library opens in the morning.
I can't remember the title, but it had a red cover.
Library Bookshelves Rearranging Themselves
Links to More Library Humor
- Funny Library Stories
Funny Library Stories Book lovers need never go to bed alone. Funny Things Found in Returned Books Library Book Returned: 99 Years Late Library that lets you take out people (go to the site to read more library humor)
- Library Humour
International Federation of Library Associations' collection of library humour
- Index to Original Library Humor by Biblia, The Warrior Librarian
Parodies of life in libraries; includes employment, administration, communication, appraisals, all content written by Amanda Credaro.
- The Merry Librarian
The Merry Librarian True Stories from a Library Near You
More Librarian Humor - Tax Money for Books
I never did this, but I always wanted to do it. I'll set the scene:
The library patron, with book in hand, indignantly approaches the information desk. "This book is a disgrace, and I can't believe the library has it." The librarian makes soothing sounds and takes a quick look at the offending book. The upset reader continues her tirade, "I don't want my tax money going for filth like this." After explaining the concept of intellectual freedom and that the library stocks books for all tastes, the librarian gives up on getting the irate woman to understand why the book won't be removed from the shelves. Handing the woman 25 cents, the librarian says,
OK, here's your tax money back.
Funny Library Stuff on Amazon
The Case of the Missing Magazine Ads
The first library I worked in had a problem with sections being scissored out of magazines. Staff kept an eye on patrons in the magazine area hoping to catch the culprit, but the problem persisted. It seemed to be advertisements that were missing, not articles or recipes.
We were really surprised when the janitor told a staff member that he was removing the alcohol and cigarette ads from the magazines because he disapproved of those.
Did I Make You Laugh
Vote in the poll
Mr. Bean at the Library - Funny library video from YouTube
Closing Time at the Library
We locked someone inside the library once when we closed for the night. The usual procedure was to blink the lights at a quarter to closing time so people would have time to check out their books. Then we went around making sure the stacks and the reading areas were empty.
This time, we missed someone. It was before the time of cell phones. They couldn't figure out how to call for help, as you had to dial 9 for an outside one. Finally, they caught someone's attention by tapping on a window as someone passed by.
Sex Books in the Library Booksale
The president of my Friends of the Library group showed me several donated books. "Why do people give these to us," she complained. I glanced at them and one was a sexy novel and the other a sex manual. I wondered what her concern was.
"I can't put these in the book sale," she said. "What would people think if they saw them there?"
Puzzled, I asked what she intended to do with them. "I'll just put them in my garage with the other donated sex books," she replied. I imagine in her years of volunteering with the library booksale she has accumulated quit a stack of these.
When you die, what will your children think when they find your garage filled with books about sex?