Do you know what goes on in the library? Some things you know: people ask questions, people use computers, people check out books. Children play with puppets and trains. Poorly rested parents perhaps temporarily nod off in a rocker. You might be surprised, though, at what goes on before we open, after we close, or "in the back."
Everyone who works in the library has heard a surprising comment, either in the library or outside, from a friend or family member when we mention what we do for a living. Many of these comments reveal the assumptions people make or misconceptions people have about libraries and library staff. Some people assume that a library is a quiet, calm place to work. (That one might be my personal favorite.) Some people are frequently surprised that several positions inside the library require a master's degree. From how the library operates as a City department to how we order and process books and materials, and from training to handling patrons, the library is a surprising place.
We'd like to take the opportunity to let people know a little bit more about what we do and why we do it. During the next several weeks, we'll share some of the assumptions we've heard and give some more accurate information.
And if you ever said one of these to a staff member, don't worry. We take all comments from patrons in the way we know you intended-- a lighthearted comment, a joke between friends. Before coming to library work, many of us had these same assumptions, too.
If you have a question about library operations you'd like us to include in the coming weeks, feel free to submit it via comment or email the library:
We are here to (among other things) answer questions, after all.