Monday, April 16, 2007

AL's Recruitment Pitch

How do you like to spend your day? Working hard for the man in a tiny cubicle? Or reading books and surfing the Internet? If you chose the latter, you should

Become a Librarian!

The old stereotype of a librarian as someone who just sits around reading books all day is out of date. Sure, there's plenty of time to read books all day, but with the fast paced information universe we live in librarians have to do more than read books. Librarians also have to surf the Internet.

Intrigued? Read on.

Let me describe a typical workday in the life of typical librarian--me. I get to work about 10am. Why so early, you ask? Simple. That's when they put out the fresh coffee and donuts in the staff lounge. After I arrive, I sit chatting and eating donuts with my fellow librarians for a half hour or so. Usually we talk about how great it is to be librarians. It's a boring conversation, but life-affirming. It's important to be bored but affirmed when you're a librarian.

After the morning coffee break, I toddle off to my luxurious private office tucked away in a corner of the fifth floor. All librarians have private corner offices, of course. That's why so many libraries have that zigzag footprint, so that there are enough corners for the librarian offices. In the hour or so I have before lunch, I usually recline on my leather sofa and read an improving book. It helps relax me, and it's important to relax when you're a librarian.

Then it's lunchtime! Most libraries have a special librarian restaurant that the rest of the staff doesn't know about. One of the perks of the profession! It's a lot like other 3-4 star restaurants, but with free food. In my library it's on the top floor so that we get a nice view of the surrounding area while eating our tarte flambée or beef bourguignon or whatever the special is that day. Librarians don't like to move or eat quickly. We like slow food, so we often linger for an hour and a half to two hours over lunch. When the food is good and the wine is better, why hurry? It's important to be well fed when you're a librarian.

By 2pm or so lunch is over, and it's back to the office for a little siesta. That's when the sofa really comes in handy. I dim the lights and curl up with my favorite blanket for an hour's peaceful shuteye. Studies have shown that workers who take a short nap during the afternoon are more alert and efficient, and it's important to be alert and efficient when you're a librarian.

After my nap, it's unfortunately time to do some unpleasant work--checking email. I don't know if other librarians are as swamped as I am, but I sometimes get as many as eight emails in a single day, each one requiring my loving attention. Several of these are messages from my knitting listservs. One is typically my mom just saying hello. Reading all those listserv messages can get monotonous, so I vary the work by flipping between email and my blogs. I also subscribe to a number of knitting blogs, so you can imagine how long it takes me to read through everything. I usually peek at the news as well, just so I can stay informed. It's important to stay informed when you're a librarian.

So by 4pm, I'm worn out, as you can imagine. Fortunately, I'm usually finished with my email and blog reading by 4, so I can just leave. If it's a pleasant day, I usually walk home to my spacious apartment provided gratis by the library. In bad weather, I often have the library limousine drive me home. No need to endure any unpleasantness during my four-block commute.

Some days instead of going home I go to the library bar for happy hour. If only this were free like the restaurant! But no. The martinis cost a dollar with house gin or two dollars with brand name gin. Since my salary is in the low six figures, I always opt for the brand name. Live a little, that's what I say.

I don't think I've mentioned the best part. I got this job straight out of library school, because the only qualification for the job was an ALA-accredited MLS! If you go to library school and get your MLS, you too can enjoy the peaceful life of a librarian. That's a guarantee!

So what are you waiting for? Choose your library school today!

15 comments:

Privateer6 said...

And I thought I was the only librarian living the good life. Unfortunatley I don't have the martinis at my library bar, but I do have Guinness

Anonymous said...

When my university built a new library, I tried (unsuccessfully) to pitch for a wet bar in my office.

Anonymous said...

On our campus we are treated like gods and goddesses. In addition to free drinks and foot massages we actually get tenure for doing our library stuff, i.e., checking email and so on. What could be better? When people ask me what I do for a living I get to tell them I'm a professor, which is great as long as they don't ask me what I am a professor of. Who can blame the 'professors' from our profession who want to change the world through ALA when everyone treats us like royalty and hangs on every word we say?

--Chris

Anonymous said...

I am shocked that in this day and age management still forces its workers to subsist without access to a healthy lifestyles consultant, fully equipped gym, trainers and, importantly, massages. Everyone knows that exercise is key to a productive and alert mind. You might as well chain ten year olds to sewing machines.

--Taupey

Anonymous said...

A ha! "Chris" is the culprit who leads our discussions and quest for knowledge down the path of foot fetishism.

--Taupey

AL said...

"healthy lifestyles consultant, fully equipped gym, trainers and, importantly, massages"--we have all that in my library, but few librarians take advantage of anything but the massages. Healthy lifestyles tend to preclude gorging ourselves on the free donuts, and working out in the gym would require sweat. It's important not to sweat when you're a librarian.

tailgunner said...

I've just realized I got it all wrong! I have been running 3 miles daily and sweating profusely to deal with the stress of not being able to acquire a library job with my 2 year old (and unused) MLIS. I should be boozing and eatting donuts and taking naps in between these activities! Thanks AL for setting me straight; I feel a new job offer coming soon!

AL said...

I was under the impression that these jobs were just waiting for people when they finished library school. I guess I was wrong.

Regardless, if the ALA wants to pay me top dollar, I'll give up my criticism of the organization and start churning out this kind of recruitment literature full time. Just letting the powers that be know that the AL can be bought.

Anonymous said...

HI and Hello! Atractive Master of Librarian Infomationalist Scientist.

Plenty job await you! Exciting travel! Good working conditions and good housing and foods benefit!! Our library patronages are mostly business man who are lonely for friend and bookish companionship. Enjoyable work! Apply today, contact: Vladmir Conteczienko, 1 Goinka Way, Skeezakistan.

Anonymous said...

You're describing my workplace at a state library, but I don't recall ever seeing you here. Okay, so my glasses are often fogged up when I come out of the sauna, but still...

Why do you think us civil servants are so very civil anyway?

Brent said...

AL, you should have gone into business with sale skills like that.

Anonymous said...

I spend my days surfing the new usingf my university's expensive computers and high-end high speed Internet.

Who needs Google. I have personally viewed every web page in existence. It's a tough job, you know, surfing the web.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a real job.
From Fry Guy to Librarian. Yes, it's that easy!!!!!!!!!1

contrarian said...

No wonder so many change agents are attracted to this field.

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to admit that my job feels just like that. We have to bring our own food at this one, but my last job really did have a free cafeteria in the basement with 3-4 star level food. Those were the days...