A Former Librarian Shared 15 Secrets And Stories About Working At A Library, And Some Of These Are Very Juicy

·5 min read

Have you ever been curious about what it's ~really~ like to be a librarian? I mean, being among thousands of books and encountering tons of strangers every day has to come with the most fascinating — and entertaining — stories.

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And I wanted to hear them, so I spoke with an anonymous source who formerly worked at public libraries for about seven years. Here are the wild stories and secrets about their job — and some tips to keep in mind the next time you visit your local library:

Note: Every library is different and has different rules, so of course, these points are from this librarian's experience!

1.Patrons have actually tried to donate MOLDY books — and other books that were in really bad condition.

A pile of old books for donation that clearly need repair

If you're ever trying to donate books to your library, make sure they're in good shape so someone else can actually read them! A book that needs minor repairs might work, but if it's in complete disrepair, it probably won't be accepted.

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2.You don't always know what you're going to encounter on the job. This librarian has caught people looking at porn on the public computers, which was against the rules at the library.

A row of computers at a library
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3.A lot of parents leave their little kids unsupervised at the library for HOURS. While many librarians love working with kids, they often have their hands full, and at the end of the day, they're not babysitters. 😬

A young child screaming inside a library

Kids often get rowdy throughout the day (especially when they don't have their parents around), which disturbs other patrons and can interrupt a librarian's duties. And for librarians who run children's programs, these events can bring in a large crowd — which means trying to manage a room full of kids. So, it's a huge help when parents actually attend these programs with their children, rather than just sending them with another kid or sibling.

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4.If the book drop is full, don't try to shove things in that don't fit — you might end up damaging other books.

A meta book return slot outside a library

At one library this librarian worked at, people would try to force items — even when the library was open — instead of just coming inside to return them. Some libraries also have book drops inside if you're trying to save time and not wait in line!

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5.People have accidentally left private items and random objects in books and the book drop when they're returning something.

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This librarian has found letters, keys, and more, so double-check before you return!

6.Sometimes patrons flirt, and it can get awkward.

A librarian looking through a shelf of books

A lot of librarians are friendly and don't mind making convo! But this librarian has seen particular patrons come in to just flirt with certain employees, and other people notice. It can just make everyone uncomfortable, especially if it's unwanted.

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7.Yes, you really should avoid having loud conversations in the quiet areas of the library.


It's distracting, and other patrons in those areas are there to read, research, study, take exams, etc., so it's just disruptive for everyone. But many libraries have areas where you can talk more freely!

8.In addition to having research, organization, computer skills, and more, having customer service and people skills are KEY as a librarian. You may need to know how to de-esculate a situation — or know if the situation calls for extra help.

Someone dials a number on a smartphone
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9.Some days, of course, librarians interact with the most interesting patrons. For example, this librarian has dealt with MLM recruiters trying to offer opportunities to be part of their business.

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10.Some people actually expect librarians to type their résumé and cover letter (or tell them how to) or give legal advice. Librarians can help you find resources for what you're working on, but it's not their job to *literally* do it for you.

A librarian helps a student working on a laptop
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11.BUT librarians are happy to help you find what you're looking for! If you can't find a book or resource at the library, they might be able to help you find it elsewhere.

A librarian hands a book from a shelf to a patron

Many librarians go to great lengths just to help you find what you need!

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12.Plus, libraries offer several free programs and classes where you can learn various skills. If there's something you want to learn more about, chances are, other patrons have the same need. You can always put in a request for a free class!


13.Oh, and one of the best parts about signing up for programs at the library? Some programs offer free food — like, sometimes ~really~ good food — and librarians do love eating the leftovers.

A buffet table with lots of finger food and appetizers

They last for daaaayyys.

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14.Unfortunately, some people treat librarians like they don't know how to do their job.


Even when it comes down to everyday things like returning a book, there are some patrons who can be rude, won't listen to rules, and tell librarians how to do the job they've been trained to do.

15.But ultimately, librarians love serving people and enjoy seeing regular patrons come in. The more you use your local library, the more it helps to support the library and keep it up and running.

A group of students working together at the library

So, if you want to support your public library and librarians, don't forget to actually use it!

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Fellow librarians, what's it really like to work at a library? Do you have any secrets, stories, or tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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