Tangent — Sassy Librarians

sassy librarianI’m always surfing around for ideas, and I have a blast doing it. I run across all kinds of interesting things of which most will never see the light of day on this blog. But some demand I give them attention. So I can’t ignore any longer what I’ve come across almost daily for years — a set of people who have me curious about how they really are face to face. On the Net they’re pretty up front. Demuring is not their thing, and there’s a downright fiery nature about some of them. To the point that I’ve found myself asking: where did all these sassy librarians come from? Have librarians always been this way and I had them in a boring box but didn’t realize it? If so, my humble apology.

Even if I did pigeon hole them, I’ve almost always had a fondness for librarians. It started when I was ten years old. My friend, Debbie and I used to venture out on our bikes every Saturday morning to parts unknown — meaning we never knew where we were going to end up. One Saturday we ended up at the library, and this was not a common occurrence for me since I hated to sit still long enough to read a book. To go to the place that was teeming with them? No, I rarely darkened their doors unless my mother dragged me there.

That particular morning I was on a mission to read something about Fred Demara. Unfortunately, the library had no books about him, and I was about to leave when a lady asked me if I needed help. She had such a sweet face, and yes, she wore glasses. I was reluctant because the library ladies represented confinement to me. If she was going to help me find a book, certainly it was going to be something dull and dry, and I would have to endure it whereas I was on a lark to find out about The Great Impostor. But being respectful, I answered her question truthfully. She looked again in the card catalogue as I had done, and I remember wondering why she had to do what I had just done. I know now that all librarians do their thinking and everyone else’s too. I was pleased when she hit a wall as I had.

Then she pulled a rabbit out of a hat and said, “Maybe you could read a magazine article about him.” Wait! I didn’t have to read a book to find out about him? Hmmm, this was sounding good. Then she threw water on it by saying, “Or perhaps you could borrow a book through Interlibrary Loan.” Huh? No, the magazine was proffered, and I jumped on the suggestion. Besides I didn’t know what Interlibrary Loan was, and it sounded scary.

It was a little disappointing when she led me over to a shelf full of some of the dullest looking books in the reference section, and that’s saying something since almost every book in the reference section was dull looking. Dang! I knew I was going to have to read a book. She laid one of the dark green books open and began to explain how to use The Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature. It surely didn’t sound like anything about magazines, and if a librarian hadn’t shown me those books, I doubt I ever would have opened one. Little did I know at the time this was going to be a pivotal event in my life. Although I was aware it was an epiphany even if I didn’t know the word epiphany yet. When I realized I could look up almost anything in those books and get not a book but a magazine to read, my heart could barely stand it. Fred Demara was just the beginning!

I’m sorry to say I don’t remember that woman’s name. She was not at that library on a regular basis but was a floater. I found this out the next time I went to the library, and I was so bummed. I think she was at that branch perhaps one other time when I was there. But I never got to talk to her again. Lately I’ve been wondering if she was as sassy as some of these others I’ve encountered. Was she as intrigued by Fred Demara as I was? What happened when she left the library at night? If I were a writer, I would write a story about that.

Whatever she did, surely all of that information in her head and passion to share it went somewhere besides helping people find books and periodicals to read. Surely. And now I know it did.

Below are just a handful of the many librarians I’ve run across in my travels around the Net, and if any of them come around here to look, yes, I’m a subscriber to your blog.

Stiletto Storytime — Courtney makes it sound very hip to be a librarian. By the way, she has a book on her 2010 reading list, “Recent Reads,” that you will find of interest. I think she’s one of us. :D

Lipstick Librarian — Diary of a Library Fashionista — Librarian angst with humor which is definitely designed to take the mickey out of the rest of us who aren’t librarians. Enter at your own risk.

Librarians are Weird — No argument there, but I’ve always liked weird people.

Laughing Librarian — Home of the Zen Librarian. Aren’t they all a bit Zen?

Free Range Librarian — They let her out of Georgia. I would explain. Just read the blog.

Low Rider Librarian — Max is on a mission.

Warrior Librarian — What it says on the tin.

Meg Wood — One of the sassiest of them all, and I’m sure I’m not the first to say that. Some of you may recognize her name from “Boyfriend of the Week” fame, and yes, before you ask, RA made the list, and he had one of the highest scores ever. Did you doubt it? The real question is when is he going to make the list again? All I know is that he better make the list again if he actually comes to America. Meg owes us that. ;-)

Our own Phylly3 — what can I say? I’ve already made it plain how much I think of Phylly with my Do Wah Diddy Diddy award.

One more:

Under the Mad Hat The Madhatter doesn’t blog there much anymore. She’s started a Children’s book blog. You can check that out for yourself if you like. But what’s left of this blog is well worth reading, so here it is on my list! Maybe a little traffic over there might cure her ennui and get her to write again. I know I would love to see that, and I hope she still has some of those hundreds of posts she removed.

Oh, and as I was surfing around trying to find a free picture of a librarian with glasses (see the one above), I ran across this —–>

Is he cute or what? No, he’s not a librarian, but if he had been when I was single, I would have tried to live at the library.

And to be fair to him since we’re ogling his picture, here’s his website. The link to the blog entry with him in glasses is here. His blog has absolutely nothing to do with librarians or RA so this is a bona fide tangent. I just thought you might appreciate an attractive picture, and yes, he looks like someone famous. It should be pretty obvious amongst this crowd, so I’m going to be shocked if someone doesn’t jump up and say it quickly. I mean these guys look like they were separated at birth. Bet people tell him he looks like, uh, that other guy.

While I was on his site, I actually read several blog pieces and downloaded a book called Thrivability, which I’m currently reading. It’s found here. I also went on to download the book that inspired Thrivability. Its called What Matters Now, and it’s found here. See I can really go on a tangent. I was just messing around until now, and hey, I figured since this is a piece about librarians, I should at least read a book or two while I’m at it. Plus, most librarians I know love segues, so they ought to love this post.

And if Leif ever comes over to read this piece, yes, I’ve read the Utne Reader, and read it when you were probably too young to write for it. Uh oh, did I just give something away?


  1. Please don’t forget, from the crumbling cellulose of cinematic archive, Marion (not Marian) Madam Librarian.

    Now that’s a thought. Having recovered from Guy’s Season 2 attack, which fortunately struck no vital organ, Lady Marian convalesces in the nearest convent. Whereupon, in a version of Eat, Pray,Love, she realizes a soul-destroying disgust with the England of King John and all men, and becomes Sister Marian.

    Becoming a little bored with this role, she proceeds to make a misery of Father Abbot’s life, by harassing the poor soul for a position in the scriptorium. Worn down, the gentle soul gives in. Sister Marian spends her days perched on a high stool, copying the Illuminated Book of -, and shushing every little monk around. When asked if the abbey possesses a copy of The Revelations of -, she snaps “of course not. And we can’t obtain it, either”….

    The Medieval Librarian.

  2. @fitzg — Love idea for a sequel! LOL

  3. Oh I must agree. I am one of you! No doubt about that!


  4. Our local city/county librarian falls into the sassy category–her name is Burke but she goes by the nickname of Sweetie–she’s funny, delightful and by no means boring or dull.

    She is retiring in the next year and I am going to miss her terribly.

    I also love the whole Marian the Medieval Librarian storyline . . . I could picture her being quite stroppy with any misbehaving monks. *grin*

  5. That’s a fantastic anecdote. Thanks so much for it. It’s very reassuring to know that Readers’ Guide is appreciated from time to time, even if we hide our lights within the dullest-looking books out there. ;-)

    We’re still out there, btw, beavering away in our cloisters and winning table quizzes whenever we enter, although the product content has mostly moved online. I have one hefty volume of the print edition to hand, but it’s underneath my terminal screen so I don’t get neck ache looking down at it whenever Utne Reader comes in!

    Thanks again.


  6. @John Green, hurrah for the Utne! And RAfrenzy. Always good to to have our profession appreciated a litlle….

    So, Marian is still in the script., (not with with Mullet-Head in the greenwood, -no pun intended – or with the lurking leather person), and actually writing her Book of – “The Knight Watchman”….

  7. Yes indeed. I am glad to hear that my chosen profession is appreciated. I was also interested in the young RAFrenzy’s attitude. I am glad you found a helpful library lady to change your opinion.

  8. @phylly3,

    I knew fitzg was a librarian, but how did I miss that you are?!!

    Oh, I’ve got to edit that post!


    LOVE the story. Do it!


    I’m so glad you’re one of us. :D


    I have such a fondness for librarians and libraries. It is almost a sickness.


    Thank you for posting. You and others like you are often in my thoughts. :D

  9. The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature! Haven’t thought of that in years. Used it all the time in high school and middle school. … Now we have Academic Search Premiere.

    Librarians are totally cool. It’s high on my list of career retraining options.

  10. Now that I think of it, that award to Phylly makes even more sense.

  11. @servetus, go for it. A year for an M.A. in the field? Depending where you opt afterward, a Special Librarian/Corporate Librarian area can bring you into research, analysis and writing.

  12. Heck, I may join her. I have an insatiable desire to go back to school. Wonder if my half a MBA would help. LOL!

    I realize it won’t but I can dream.

  13. I adore and worship librarians. I was married to one for an eternity but that’s a different story. Heck, he even has his name on a cornerstone. (well, bronze plaque these days). Still, I got to know the innerworkings of libraries. For a long time, he ran a branch before moving onto overseeing half a city to running an entire town.

    I remember the original “Time Machine” where in the future there were spinning discs with all the info of the planet (I think- or maybe that was a Star Trek episode. LOL) I also loved a Doctor Who ep with the great library of the planet as the protagonist/antagonist. I love libraries. It’s like coming home and I can’t think of anything better than sitting on the floor among the stacks just perusing any old book that strikes my fancy. Computers certainly lack that sensuous feel.

    Librarians to me are the guardians of knowledge, and libraries are one of the last sane bastions of human thought and endeavour, the fiercely shored repository of the human race. I would not be too keen on being a librarian, because after all, it is also a “science” but I love them. As for the very many librarians I’ve met and hung out with, I guess I’ve taken them for granted. They’re just good and great human beings and pretty unspectacular on a social basis. It’s in the library where they really shine. LIBRARIANS RULE!

  14. @phylly3

    “Yes indeed. I am glad to hear that my chosen profession is appreciated. I was also interested in the young RAFrenzy’s attitude. I am glad you found a helpful library lady to change your opinion.”

    I remember when I was 6 years old and my first visit to the library, with a class. The librarian told us a story. I was entranced by the fact that she had lavender hair. It made such an impression on me that in my dotage, I just might go lavender. Librarians are cool.

  15. @Servetus — You’d be an awesome librarian! Go for it!
    @ everyone else — It’s great how people seem to love libraries but why is it they get smaller and smaller budgets? Libraries give the biggest bang for the buck (especially in the education field) and every librarian I know is a penny pincher with their meager budgets, but still somehow administration always throws their money at the flavour of the month! (Can you tell I’m a bit p.o.ed? — My principal told me today I have no library budget, so if I desperately need something I have to go begging for it!) Go figure!!
    @pi — hmmm…lavender hair, eh? My grandma had blue hair and she was pretty cool. Maybe when I go completely grey….but so far no grey!
    @pi again “pretty unspectacular on a social basis” — I’ll have you know I’ve been told I am pretty fun at a party! And the Grade 8 teacher likes my jokes! ;)

  16. @phylly3


    Don’t ever go into management/admin because you won’t have any hair left to colour lavender. :) The budget thingy is an ongoing scourge. It’s unfair I know and stupid. Doofuses. In my experience, admin is into politics and pleasing the Board of Directors.

    I just meant that librarians are normal folk, scintillating according to personality. Mind you, there was one who concocted a mean poached pear dessert. I’ve also met librarians who were published and social climbers as well, whose ambition outstripped any thought for the masses. Then there was the archivist/historian (the ex’s friend to this day) who used to write for the city newspaper, and I do believe he published a book, who was a nice guy and beyond geeky (maybe “eccentric” is a better word). It takes all kinds.

  17. I’m not a fan of taxes even when officials think they need more money. Most of the time they don’t. This is probably the most political I will get on this blog, so forgive me this once. The two times I’ve voted for a tax increase were once for a college and once for the library system. I do not regret either. In fact, I give money to colleges and the library every few months, and I’m happy to do it. I would probably vote for another tax increase for the library. :D

  18. […] They hold a special place in my heart and especially sassy librarians, who I waxed on about here, and I’m going to do it again today. But for a very good cause! Richard Armitage is our […]

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