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Woman Shares 28 Things She’s Learned About The General Public While Working At The Library And People Love Her Insights
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Other3 years ago

Woman Shares 28 Things She’s Learned About The General Public While Working At The Library And People Love Her Insights

There’s something almost magical about libraries. Maybe it’s the silence or the incredible amount of knowledge, but the place certainly has a special vibe. And most of us spend too little time there to get to the bottom of it. Luckily, a librarian from Scotland named Mel (@grumpwitch) has decided to lift the veil off of these secrets, sharing some of the industry insights that she has learned on the job. (Facebook cover image: charlotte henard)

Image credits: Robert Gray

However, becoming a librarian wasn’t something she had planned. “I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years but I became quite unwell about five years ago and had to leave my product design engineering role and course,” Mel told Bored Panda. “I was gutted but I knew that recovery would take a while. I’ve always been a bookworm so I started looking for jobs in libraries and other environments to do part-time while I recovered.”

For the last two and a half years, Mel has been a library assistant and she hasn’t looked back ever since. “I love it so much that I hope I can keep working in libraries permanently.”

“I was waiting for the kettle to boil while I made dinner one evening and I’d been chatting with my colleague about the strange and random things we’d learned in this job,” she said. “So I started tweeting them out without any sort of thought about order or structure, just as they came to my head. I figured a few of my fellow library assistants would relate. If I’d known how big it would become, I’d have proofread them first!”

Image credits: grumpwitch

All things considered, Mel remains an optimist when it comes to the fate of libraries. She does, however, believe that some changes need to happen. “I think libraries need to be advertised. The world is so commercial and every brand is vying for people’s attention, especially on new technology that I think libraries miss out on being part of the conversation. They’re sometimes seen as a relic of the past and very few people realize just how much they do. We need advertising campaigns and reminders that libraries are still here.”

But there are obstacles libraries must overcome before they start investing in a brighter future. “Budget cuts are definitely the biggest threat,” Mel said. “Local councils and other bodies are having to stretch smaller budgets thinner and thinner and unfortunately, libraries often take the hit. It’s all the little things we need to do but can’t, like fix a broken piece of equipment or run classes with better materials that make us lose library users. If a printer stops working, people go somewhere else to print. If the children’s activities at a sports center are more involved because there are more staff on hand, people will take their children there instead.”

Luckily, there are thoughtful and dedicated people like Mel who, I believe, are the assets libraries need to treasure most.

People were really surprised to learn all of these things

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jamie1707
Community Member
3 years ago

Thank the stars for librarys! #1 "can't read a regular clock" That is sad. But I know several 20-30ish folks that can't read cursive writing. That's even sadder.

A. B. Gilman
Community Member
3 years ago

I live in U.S, am under 20, and can both write/read in cursive and read analog clocks.

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Bored Moogle
Community Member
3 years ago

The old librarian in my town had a photographic memory. I moved to Georgia in 2003 and move back in 2011 and when I walked into the library, she greeted me by name like I hadn't even been gone. She even remembered the last book I borrowed before I moved away because she saved it for me when it came out. It was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and I got to read it the very day it came out because the library had ordered 10 copies.

logical fallacy
Community Member
3 years ago

That's very sweet. Reminds me of Mr. Ollivander's photographic memory of people and their wands :)

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
3 years ago

I miss books. Y'know. Solid objects. Not community meeting spaces, children's playtime spaces, computers for internet spaces... Local library system sold off something like 10,000 books from its various branches to make room for non-books, and it now smells more like a Starbucks than a library. I really miss books....

fruit_panda
Community Member
3 years ago

A lot of public libraries in the US rely on federal funding which rewards libraries with more computers. Voice your complaint to the library in writing. Don't feel like you're just one person. What the community says matters and does influence how we allocate funds.

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jamie1707
Community Member
3 years ago

Thank the stars for librarys! #1 "can't read a regular clock" That is sad. But I know several 20-30ish folks that can't read cursive writing. That's even sadder.

A. B. Gilman
Community Member
3 years ago

I live in U.S, am under 20, and can both write/read in cursive and read analog clocks.

Load More Replies...
Bored Moogle
Community Member
3 years ago

The old librarian in my town had a photographic memory. I moved to Georgia in 2003 and move back in 2011 and when I walked into the library, she greeted me by name like I hadn't even been gone. She even remembered the last book I borrowed before I moved away because she saved it for me when it came out. It was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and I got to read it the very day it came out because the library had ordered 10 copies.

logical fallacy
Community Member
3 years ago

That's very sweet. Reminds me of Mr. Ollivander's photographic memory of people and their wands :)

Load More Replies...
Leo Domitrix
Community Member
3 years ago

I miss books. Y'know. Solid objects. Not community meeting spaces, children's playtime spaces, computers for internet spaces... Local library system sold off something like 10,000 books from its various branches to make room for non-books, and it now smells more like a Starbucks than a library. I really miss books....

fruit_panda
Community Member
3 years ago

A lot of public libraries in the US rely on federal funding which rewards libraries with more computers. Voice your complaint to the library in writing. Don't feel like you're just one person. What the community says matters and does influence how we allocate funds.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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