Desire to serve as a substitute librarian?

Yesterday evening, I was scheduled for a 3-hour shift at our local library.  As with many rural libraries, there is only funding for 1 person to work at a time.  At times, our 1-room library is extremely busy.

There, patrons have been known to

  • receive their first library card and celebrate that momentous occasion (a blessing to watch)
  • utilize free internet access
  • report progress with summer reading and receive prizes for their efforts
  • wait impatiently graciously for a turn on the computer
  • ask odd questions about anything under the sun (i.e. can you find out where my ex-husband lives?)
  • borrow and return countless books, magazines, movies, audio books, CD-ROMs, etc.
  • send their small children for **free** child care service
  • dump all the puzzles out when the library is full of people, and then run home, silently challenging the librarian to complete said puzzles



  • inform you that their child should not have requested that book on the hold shelf since they’re in the process of moving and tell you to “send it back”
  • inquire if you have books about the civil war/iguanas/lung cancer as they have a report due at school TOMORROW
  • request materials unavailable in our local library network, for which we cheerfully search a statewide database
  • exclaim in delight when they receive requested materials (truly a pleasure to witness)
  • ask repeatedly why the book they requested last week is not available
  • shout “I want to watch Barney NOW”
  • expect to pay their property taxes, since the township meetings are held in the same building
  • startle everyone in the library with a blaring cell ringtone and commence conversing loudly for all to hear
  • attack and overturn the castle, leaving poor princesses defenseless


  • submit papers to be faxed, and return to the library inebriated to retrieve the originals
  • offer (unsolicited) sermons regarding the latest book, revival, or dream (I’m not joking!!)
  • slam a book down on your hand and demand that it goes in “my own bag”
  • expect that materials be in precise order (like laundry, a never-ending task)
  • enjoy the air conditioning (when the temperature in their mobile home has risen above 100*)
  • inquire if you “have that book my sister-in-law was reading that starts with a ‘c’ and was written by that guy who wrote that book about demons”

For approximately 60 cents above minimum wage, you, too, can experience the joy!

Proceed to your local library and offer your assistance!


2 thoughts on “Desire to serve as a substitute librarian?

  1. Cynthia says:

    Isn’t it amazing the things people have to put up with on the job.

  2. Janet says:

    You are overworked, underpaid, and most appreciated! Maybe we should forward this to CRDL when (and if) they get their funding.

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