I know what Librarians are Hiding

Sunday, May 27, 2007

From 1986 through 1988, I worked as a Page at the Rutland Free Library.

For those of you unfamiliar with "library speak", I was the not quite minimum wage slave who shelved all those books that humanity returned. I also found the magazines and other bits and pieces that people needed for research. Although, I use that term loosely as I can't imagine anyone was doing major hardcore research in the Rutland Free Library.

My skills as a Dewey decimal reader became quite honed. I can rock the shit out of the 610's in non fiction ( without even looking this up - it is the true life murder mystery type stories... or it is somewhere in the 600's, those shelves were always messed up). When we had put away all the books, we would "read" the shelves in the non fiction. This meant that we sat and made sure that the books were in the correct order. Sometimes - and I had a specialty in this - I would clean the card catalog. This meant that before computers, I would stand there and remove the cards of books that were lost or otherwise no longer available. You think that this is a one step job? Um, no. Books are cross cataloged. One book may show up in five or six places. All those cards needed to be pulled.

There were some scary moments too. As it was a public library, the PUBLIC was in constant presence. Some of the mentally ill of the community would hang out and we got used to their odd and irrational behaviors. We knew which ones were harmless, and which ones we should not be alone around. Sometimes some got fixated on us, this group of mostly 16-18 year old women, wandering around with our arms full of books. I had one who memorized my schedule and would wait for me, watching. I would either not go into the back when he was there - doing the card catalog work in full view of the front desk - Him watching me from the corners of the stacks, or my boyfriend John would double the shift with me, staying close by as I shelved books. Another girl got cornered by one of the regulars who began shouting about Jews at her. While she wasn't Jewish, I suspect it was part of his paranoia. While we weren't scared, we were watchful.

I loved my library job. I honestly did. Surrounded by books, the quiet smell of the stacks, the cool moistness of the basement where the magazine stacks were kept, the silence of the Vermont room upstairs where the historical texts were kept and never shelved correctly. My boyfriend worked there too, so we would occasionally make out in the back. However, I hated working with him as he had a different way of sorting the books that made no sense to me.

But what, you are asking, are Librarians hiding Dawn?

The Joy of Sex. Most sex books, actually. They got stolen constantly, so they were kept in the back room and had to be gotten for a patron. This was nearly NEVER as who wants to step up and ask a nearly 60 year old grandmotherly looking woman for the copy of the Joy of Sex?

Damn those Librarians.

6 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

I always wished that I had worked in a library, and I still sometimes think about going back to school to study library science.

And I did not know this about The Joy of Sex. No wonder I could never find it.

I mean . . .interesting.

Lisa said...

I wouldn't have even thought the library would have sex books. If I would have known that, I probably would have spent more time there when I was younger. heehee.

Bobita said...

I have a student stalking me right now...sounds like the same person who stalked you in the library!

Anonymous said...

Huh. I always assumed people checked out the dirty books and never brought them back, which would explain why they were never on the shelves when I went looking as a teenager.

And somehow I just had a picture of you and T playing "dirty librarian" while you wear your new red shoes ;o)

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is why I was never a good librarian. The library I worked at had no good sex books. Just research on airplanes and spacecraft.

velocibadgergirl said...

This makes me miss my student job at the library during my last year of college. We had no sex books, as I worked in the education / kids' books department, but I loved that job. As a bonus, we had very few crazy patrons!

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