Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Exit Interviews and Their Discontents

As we all know, there are library jobs that suck and library jobs that don’t quite suck. When you’ve been offered a job, the important thing is figuring out which category it falls into, unless of course you’re absolutely desperate and your only other option is slowly eating yourself to death with generous helpings of chocolate and Twinkies, which seems to be the librarian’s preferred way to go.

But how can you know which category your proffered job is in? You certainly can’t trust the people interviewing you. If the job sucks, they won’t tell you the truth. If the decent folks tell you the truth, they know the bad big boss will terrorize and humiliate them the next day. So they smile their desperate smiles and cringe when you ask the hard questions. It’s all so sad. Oh, I suppose if you are perceptive enough, you can understand how much the job sucks by reading the fearful expressions on people’s faces or between the lines of people’s questions. "What are you looking for in a supervisor?" one might ask. "W-w-w-we j-j-just want someone who won’t beat us. Is that so wrong? If it is, I’ll prostrate myself before you! Don’t hit me, please!" Actually, I guess you don’t really have to read subtly between the lines on that one, but you get the idea.

So how can we find out more about the job? Easy. Libraries should give all job candidates the exit interviews of the previous person in the position. Yeah, right! You think that wouldn’t happen? Well, you’re mistaken on that one, and I know because this happened to me recently, and I’m sure glad it did. It’s the sort of thing that a "transparent library" would do all the time.

I know what you’re thinking. "AL, you’ve got the best library job in the entire world! Why are you applying for other jobs?" Of course you’re right that I have the best library job in the world. It’s no less than I deserve, after all. But still, there’s sometimes the feeling that maybe the grass is greener on the other side of the circulation desk. So occasionally, maybe once or twice a week, I interview for other jobs, mostly just for fun. I don’t know why I do it. I’m not going to take the jobs. Perhaps I do it for the free lunches and the chance to stand up in front of a group of librarians and tell them all about the future of whatever field of librarianship I’m applying for a job in. That’s always the most enjoyable part, because I just make up stuff and say it in a charming, perky way and everyone claps. It’s a good life.

However, before one of last week’s interviews, I actually saw the exit interview of the predecessor. They didn’t do this voluntarily, of course. It’s just that being the AL I have minions throughout libraryland, and I pulled strings, scratched backs, and fiddled with knobs and bob’s your uncle I had the exit interview. I give it verbatim below.


  • What is your primary reason for leaving?

I couldn’t stand the smell anymore.

  • What was most satisfying about your job?

The vacation.

  • What was least satisfying about your job?

Everything else.

  • What would you change about your job?

The director, the location, the clientele, the odor, pretty much everything.

  • Did you receive adequate support to do your job?

You’re joking, right?

  • Did you receive sufficient feedback about your performance between merit reviews?

I suppose so, if "Nice one, jerkoff!" counts as sufficient feedback.

  • That sounds very encouraging to me. Did this library help you to fulfill your career goals?

It’s given me the incentive to move on quickly.

  • That’s the sort of thing we like to hear. Do you have any tips to help us find your replacement?


  • In general we don’t feel that God is on our side. Were you happy with your pay, benefits and other incentives?

I get that feeling, too. Can I leave now?

  • Not quite yet. Were there any problems with your immediate supervisor?

Micromanagement is one thing, but the lojack and random drug tests were going too far.

  • But we don’t conduct random drug tests here.

Then why the hell did she make me pee into a cup every week?

  • There must be some mistake. We were told you liked to leave a cup of urine in her office every week. That’s the main reason we’re terminating your employment with us. Back to the questions. What could your immediate supervisor do to improve his or her management style?

Her immediate resignation and suicide would be a good start.

  • We’ll pass that advice on to her. Based on your experience with us, what do you think it takes to succeed at this library?

Success isn’t possible. Drugs might help with survival.

  • Would you consider working again for this library in the future?

You’ve got to be joking.

  • We’re HR. We never joke. Would you recommend working for this library to your family and friends?

If you come anywhere near my family or friends, I’ll kill you.

  • You’re not really in a position to make threats, are you?

You’re right. I meant that if you unlock these cuffs and come near my family or friends, I’ll kill you.

  • That’s better. Can this library do anything to encourage you to stay?

You mean, besides the handcuffs?

  • You’re seem to be as obsessed with those handcuffs as you are with your urine. We’ll just mark that down as a "no," shall we? Did anyone in this company discriminate against you, harass you or cause hostile working conditions?

Please let me leave. I’ll be quiet. I promise you.

  • That sounds like a good place to stop. James, please unlock the cuffs. The interview is concluded.


I got the offer today. I think I’m turning this one down, too.



  1. Is this a blog about libraries, or a stand-up comedy routine? Either way, it fails.

  2. Thanks for reading!

  3. annoyed more often then not says:

    The AL was probably sitting when she/he typed this, so it’s not a stand up routine. But great stuff. Gotta love the AL. Keep up the good work.

  4. THE Anonymous says:

    So cutting edge. Glad you are getting paid for this. Don’t give up the day job.

  5. Dash Canyon says:

    It’s the danger of trying to be funny. When it doesn’t work, your whole point just gets lost. Especially when there’s already a lack of credibiltiy due to being anonymous.

  6. Quaker Oats says:

    Maybe it’s a bit early to be critiquing, but this feels forced. The old blog felt so much more organic; one or two posts a week, max, and usually when the AL found something she really felt worth ranting about. This post feels like she was on a deadline and searching for something to write about. I don’t care for it.

  7. I was stressing about upcoming interviews, but now I’ve calmed down a bit. Thanks! It was really, “…I just make up stuff and say it in a charming, perky way and everyone claps. It’s a good life.” that did it for me!

    Also, your readers sure are bitchy in the morning. You keep up the good work. You had me laughing.

  8. Very funny, and painfully familar. I took a job once only to find out that the last person in left a year before because he had been driven nuts (as in needing treatment) by his supervisor.

  9. Annoyed in Illinois says:

    Ha! I wish that I could have been that honest at my last exit interview. When I left my last job it was for many of the reasons listed above. My replacement lasted one week before he had a mental breakdown. He seemed like a nice guy. I wish I could have warned him. Keep it up! I love the AL!

  10. Dan Kleinman of says:

    AL said, “What is your primary reason for leaving? I couldn’t stand the smell anymore.”


    AL, now I know where you work.

  11. I had a job like that during the interview and for 6 months after my supervisor (yes I took the job) told me I didn’t want to work for that company. After 4 years I discovered she was right. I guess I’m a slow learner.

  12. Forced? Actually, I didn’t have to write again this week. I just liked the topic. This one was sort of based on reality. I just exaggerated it a bit.

  13. Quaker Oats says:

    AL – interesting. It’s the exaggeration that made it feel forced to me. Usually your snark feels so natural, like exaggeration isn’t even necessary. That’s why I like you – you air the dirty laundry others would happily ignore, or chalk up to sour grapes/whining/being spoiled – and you do it without window dressing. Ah, well. Can’t win ’em all.

  14. The AL used to have a real ring of truth. Now. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem real. The only thing I have had to do to get out of a job is beat my supervisor at Dance Dance Revolution. I Cha Cha Cha’ed my way to fame and fortune.

  15. All I know is they should change my job title from librarian to escape goat to give the next person a fair chance.

  16. Argh. Comment vaporized. Must retype from memory…can feel differences seeping into text already…

    I have a feeling that AL’s exit interview with Library Journal may eventually be similar to the hypothetical one above. I just received my dead-tree version of LJ and within the span of 14 pages there are 2 anti-Palin fear mongering articles. I’m not going to bother to read the rest of the journal to see how many more there are. I’m a bit surprised that 1) there isn’t a photo of Palin on the cover with vampire fangs photoshopped in and 2) they haven’t extended this all DNC, all the time policy to the blogs yet–or have they, and this is just AL’s way of rebelling?

  17. bahaha: All I know is they should change my job title from librarian to escape goat to give the next person a fair chance.

    Escape goat? Is that some sort of shot? Maybe a user name?

    Check out the Urban Dictionary for the definition of ”

  18. soren faust says:

    Palin who?

  19. I would still marry AL in a heart beat.

  20. Idiot Poster says:

    Jeez, the AL starts getting paid, so it is off to the six pack of martinis and then phone in the blog.


  21. I can only hope that I’ll be that honest when it comes time for my exit interview.

  22. HippieMan says:

    Could the Al be Sarah Palin?

  23. Read 'Em Fast says:

    Merit Increases??? Exit Interviews???
    From my previous life up north I do seem to recall those phrases… I can deduce from this that AL is not working in the backward south.

  24. Just remember, even if you’re Peter Gibbons, there is still someone in the building who loves working there so much they can crack a Potatohead smile and say ‘Awww, Someone has a case of the Moondays!’

  25. What fun! But I don’t take AL seriously. Not all jobs suck or almost suck. There are librarians who actually like their jobs. Agree or not, though, it doesn’t matter. I hope AL continues writing.

  26. threegoodrats says:

    Well, I’m in the northeast and we don’t have merit increases or exit interviews here either. We do have a bad smell though.

  27. librarydude says:

    I’m in the northeast also and we don’t have merit increases or exit interviews either. We do have a lot of librarians who enjoy their jobs and don’t feel a need to whine anonymously.

  28. soren faust says:

    hey dude, I’m not sure it’s a need to whine so much as it is a want. I too had that mixed up once, but now that I’m clean, I can honestly say that I want wine.

  29. librarydude says:

    You honestly think that’s funny?

  30. soren faust says:

    Yes, sir. I honestly know that’s funny. What’s disconcerting is that there seems to be a high level of anger in your type. Are you okay?

  31. Funny? That’s Hilarious!

    It’s very very punny.

  32. librarydude says:

    Whine, wine. Funny, punny. What’s next – potty jokes?

  33. soren faust says:

    No, don’t want to go there. I am, however, wondering what is the probability of me telling at least on funny joke on the AL. If I told 10 jokes, for instance, what is the probability of me getting at least one of laugh?
    P(at least one laugh) = 1 – P(no laughs, at all) which equals P(0.9)^10 which then equals 0.6513. Since probability measures between 0 and 1, 0 being impossible and 1 being absolutely, the chance of me getting a laugh is just over 50%. So, should I continue or not? What would the Dude do?

  34. librarydude says:

    Just over 50% chance of getting a laugh on 1 out of every 10 jokes? Do you really think that’s a valuable use of our time? Play the percentages – leave the humor to the humorous. Concentrate on what you do best, which is… well I’m really not sure but there must be something.

  35. soren faust says:

    I guess you just had to be there. But, seriously, I find a high number of librarians suffer from being completely humorless, and I don’t mean they can’t tell a joke. What I mean is that they (not all) seem to be saturnine in their demeanor, particularly online, but I see it at the library, too. Doesn’t this strike you as funny? I’ve worked in quite a few industries and have never experienced anything like the dour and mean-spiritedness that I’ve often witnessed among librarians.

  36. librarydude says:

    I’ve worked in many libraries and have always found librarians to be warm and cheerful. Maybe it’s your presence.

  37. soren faust says:

    Dude, you’re being meanspirited right now, in fact. From the things you’ve said here online, I can’t imagine you’re one of the “warm” and “cheerful.” Btw, if you read closely, you’d have read that I did not make a sweeping generalization about all librarians, but said that there are an inordinate number of cranky, humorless librarians compared with that of other workers in the other fields I’ve had experience in. Now, slow down and use a little logic: If I were the one causing bitterness among the librarians, then it follows that I would also have caused bitterness among the workers in the other fields I’ve worked in. Since I apparently did not witness the workers in the other fields being bitter, then it follows that something other than myself must be the cause.

  38. librarydude says:

    Maybe you just got like this once you started working in libraries.

  39. soren faust says:

    That’s highly possible, Dude. A wretch like me has no divine hope in Library for salvation.

    Cast Soren out from among you, my obedient sheep, the Dude exhorts his flock of librarians.

  40. The humorless can whine all they want, if it’s funny those of use who like wine will enjoy it – even if it ain’t to terrible funny in the first place!

    Satire is awesome too.

  41. Anonymous says:

    More recycled AL. And LJ is paying for this? I didn’t know things were getting that desparate.

  42. Lame Blog


  44. Is LOL’s comment a joke?

  45. Lauren Hill says:

    The Fugees came out with a song called “Fugeela” in 1996. When Lauren Hill sings ooooh lalalalalalalalalalala, if you look closely, she is basically saying ALA ALA ALA over and over again. Propaganda? Subliminal messaging? You be the judge.

  46. The Library Scientist says:

    How dare you look down upon the profession of Library Science! Blogs like this undermine the image of librarians! And image is important, lest all libraries will shut down. That must be stopped! We need libraries in our great democracy! Librarians unite! Boycott this blog!

  47. Library man says:

    Scientist, what are you talking about? You think reading the AL will lead to libraries closing down?

  48. The Library Scientist says:

    My point is, when the Roman Empire had the barbarians at the gate, they suspended democracy and handed rule over to one man, Caesar, to protect them.

  49. Library man says:

    Isn’t that a direct quote from The Dark Knight?

  50. The Library Scientist says:

    I wouldn’t know, I don’t watch movies. I only read books. I don’t even read blogs.

  51. Library man says:

    So did you read this blog before you criticized it?

  52. The Library Scientist says:

    No, but I’ve heard about it from people I work with. I don’t need to read it to know her type.

  53. fugee la la la

  54. Library man says:

    So, you criticize things without having any idea what they are about?

  55. The Library Scientist says:

    Quiet fool! Heathen! Blasphemer!

  56. Library man says:

    You are insane.

  57. The Library Scientist says:

    Fugue la la la

  58. Library man says:

    Fugee la la la

  59. So Childish

  60. Master of Library Science says:

    I have mastered the science of libraries. I am a master libraricist. I hate when people don’t take our field seriously.

  61. The Library Rapper says:

    Yo listen
    the ALs all cranky
    ‘cuz she wishes she was smarter
    and all her little minions
    wish that she was still their martyr
    but now she’s making money
    churning blogs out week by week
    oh yea shes making money
    making blogs for geeks to seek
    you can poke holes in her arguments
    but please don’t make me start
    just because she could be smarter
    doesn’t mean she isn’t smart

  62. seriously? says:

    The Library Rapper? Seriously? That was the worst thing I’ve ever read.

  63. Fugee la la says:


  64. I’m ashamed to be a librarian after reading this blog and the posts that are on it.

  65. ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. Smack me in the face with a blue fin tuna…lol

  67. forever anon says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the blog is fine and that is the comments that suck?

  68. librarydude says:


  69. clear and open mind says:

    Global warming is a myth!

  70. soren faust says:

    Library Scientist my arse. What fool really believes that Library Science is really a science?

  71. librarydude says:

    “What fool really believes that Library Science is really a science?”

    If it’s not a science, why are you calling it a science?

  72. soren faust says:

    Because that is the accepted nomenclature, as dubious as its origins are, of the field of librarianship. If I had used a term such as Library Studies or Library Arts, then the original point of the comment (i.e., that the term “science” was misapplied to a non-scientific field of study and to call yourself a “scientist” is laughable) would have been lost.

  73. librarydude says:

    We would have figured it out.

  74. soren faust says:

    Dude, by the way you type, I think you may work in my library.

  75. soren faust says:

    AL, several non-librarians that I know found your blog interesting and funny. Perhaps, you’re addressing the wrong audience. It’s hard to make a librarian laugh.

  76. The Library Scientist says:

    But Soren, what about all of my Library Science experiments and the annual Library Science fair held in my town? ‘Round these parts, library science is just as scientific as physics or biology. Fool!

  77. Fugee la la says:


  78. Large Hadron Collider says:

    If one particle leaves Philadelphia going towards Kansas City at 99.99999999% of the speed of light, and another particle leaves Los Angeles heading east towards Kansas City at 99.9999999% of the speed of light, then will the world come to an end when they collide?
    Also, The Library Scientist is ridiculous. “Library Science” is not a science. It is a joke. Your lives are all a joke. Stop making pretend you are important.

  79. McCain/Palin '08 says:

    Save the tax payers moneys!!! Close down all use-less librarys!!!!!! Now that we have the internet we don’t need old dusty books and to pay those old stuckup women to work anymore! We can use that money for better things…. this is a democracy its not a communist country. Forcing people to pay for a building where everyone can use “useful” information is communist! Librarys= Karl Marx. Close the library programs, close the libraries, save us all the money and hassle! Libraries are a disgrace to the american dream. God bless. God Bless America. And as the great William Wallace once said, “Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    You make me sick.

  80. Fugee la la says:


  81. post postmodern Librarian says:

    If the comments to this blog shows the wisdom of the crowds and triumph of the masses, brought about by web 2.0 I feel sorry for the future.

  82. soren faust says:

    You should read: Triumph of Vulgarity: Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism by Robert Pattison. No joke, it is really amazing and relates to your comment beautifully.

  83. post postmodern Librarian says:

    Thanks Soren. I ll make a deal with you I ll put it on my things to read after I get my second masters; if you will share some wine with me.

  84. soren faust says:


  85. soren faust says:

    Large Hadron Collider: according to your calculation the particle from LA will miss the point of collision with the particle from Philly by one millionth. If this happens, it will instead go on to collide with your stupid self in Baton Rouge, LA.

  86. Baton Rouge, LA Resident says:

    Hey!! Come on!

  87. soren faust says:

    why am I so cool

  88. Library Dudette says:

    Hey Library Dude… A/S/L? ;)

  89. fugee la la says:



  91. Friendly Guy 12 says:

    I agree with McCain/Palin 08’s comment. Libraries are a waste of money. I’d rather pay less taxes and have no libraries. Libraries < Google. What a waste. Pathetic.

  92. soren faust says:

    Your comment sure does reflect your dependence of Google, that’s for sure.

  93. Friendly Guy 12 says:

    What is that supposed to mean Soren?

  94. soren faust says:

    Google it and find out.

  95. Friendly Guy 12 says:

    LOL SO CLEVER. Dolt.

  96. Friendly Guy 12 says:

    ur just scarred cuz i speak truth

  97. soren faust says:

    Google and the fortune telling 8 ball is all we need for a good education, right Friendly?

  98. Friendly Guy 12 says:

    No, just google. No one uses librarys, the stupid library building in my town just sits there. All the silly egg-heads who think they are important are the only people who use it. And the rest of us pay. Its a joke. The kind of people who can’t even screw in a lightbulb.

  99. soren faust says:

    Are you making the universal claim that “no one uses librarys [sic]” based on a library building that sits in the middle of your town? Or is this a conclusion you’ve arrived at by careful statistical analysis of a fairly drawn random sample of libraries around the US?

  100. Post postmodern Librarian says:

    For those people who think AL blogs misses the mark about librarian dissatisfaction read “What We Need” in this journal. Its an interesting article thanks Hill and Farkas. Best thing I have read LJ in sometime.

  101. clear and open mind says:

    Global warming is a liberal myth.

  102. reasonablyeducated says:

    If we didn’t have libraries, where would all the humanities majors find a job? Barnes & Nobles?

  103. Jacqueline Seewald says:

    It’s like this: if the job was terrific, the former librarian would have died at it. People just don’t give up great jobs. They give up jobs that suck. Either way, it’s doubtful you’ll be allowed to talk with your predecessor. I wasn’t. I like the humor here, but I have to say, it is a serious matter, which is probably why we need to laugh at it.
    Check out my novel THE INFERNO COLLECTION. It deals with what librarians contend with.

  104. librarydude says:

    “People just don’t give up great jobs.”

    It happens all the time. You’ve got a great job and someone else offers you another job making more money so you take it. Just one example of why people sometime leave great jobs.

  105. Friendly Guy 12 says:

    Not to mention reading is boring and no one likes it

  106. Fugee la la says:


  107. Are you making the universal claim that “no one uses librarys [sic]” based on a library building that sits in the middle of your town? Or is this a conclusion you’ve arrived at by careful statistical analysis of a fairly drawn random sample of libraries around the US?

    No, it’s the conclusion we came to after hanging around the library all day. We looked all over for people, but all we found were kids, retards, and homeless people. Not a single celebrity, politician, or even a soccer mom. So we concluded that Nobody uses the library anymore. And since taxes are paid by somebody, we conclude we have to release them formt ehir burden. It’s Just not fair that they have to pay for something they don’t use. It’s liberal socialism!!!

    (End Satirism!)

    Dave, you seem to be having a lot of problems with people breaking in and pretending to be you. Either LJ needs to upgrade their blog application to reflect Blogger’s authentication port, or you need to watch what you say…hehehe, watch was you say…it’s funny because you aren’t saying it, but you are saying it, but becauseyou aren;t saying it, you can only see it after it’s been said…hehe..ok, not funny. And no, I am not pretending to be you. I’m a volunteer librarian, which means I pretend to be a librarian like my MLS says I can be two hours a week; I have enough issues already!!

    P.S. What happened to the commentors on this blog? AL has been promoted to a semi-serious place in the universe, but it seems the commenters still have not accepted this new position.

    Silly people.

  108. soren faust says:

    No, it’s the conclusion we came to after hanging around the library all day. We looked all over for people, but all we found were kids, retards, and homeless people. Not a single celebrity, politician, or even a soccer mom

    It sounds like a sad place. The library I work for has the homeless &c, but also scholars, parents, children, business people, &c. From the sound of it I seem to work in the last vestige of the old timey public library of yesteryear. They way some talk, public libraries are akin to derelict buildings, abandoned dark alleys and drug corners in bad neighborhoods where you’ll be lucky to get out alive. I somehow doubt that this is the case, but then again, what do I know? I can’t even get the can opener to work!

  109. Are you trying to use a P-38, a Churchkey, or a serated wheel? I finally solved my own can opening dilemmas by purchasing only those cans that have pulltab lids. My Psychologist says it has been my greatest break through in over twenty years.

  110. librarydude says:

    Again with the lame humor? Come on, step it up!

  111. Here’s your exit interview!

    SAN ANTONIO – A librarian at a college northeast of San Antonio was shot to death Monday by a part-time co-worker, according to media reports.

    The shooting happened at Northeast Lakeview College, an Alamo Community College school, a the San Antonio Express News and WOAI-TV reported

    Officials told WOAI that a 38-year-old man who was a full-time librarian was shot and killed by 62-year-old man who works part-time at the library.
    Story continues below ↓advertisement

    The campus was placed on lockdown after the shooting.

  112. soren faust says:

    librarydude is so jealous. Look at you! Sorry man, not everyone has the gift, but I’m sure that you’re good at something.

  113. Happily Anonymous says:

    1. I liked soren’s pun, made me laugh :)
    2. LibraryDude is too angry
    3. Love that the satirical ‘in persona’ blog is now getting satirical ‘in persona’ commenters :) (although had one awful moment when I thought Library Scientist was serious!)
    4. There are some really random weirdos commenting on here now and I have no idea why they are here (eg global warming= wha?)

  114. Happily Anonymous says:

    5. Get over the Anonymous already. Really. This is just getting beyond a joke. If you don’t want to read it cause you don’t *know* who wrote it then just read something else. There’s a whole wide Internet out there just bursting with stuff to read of varying quality and bunches of it has an author listed at the bottom, so go forth and enjoy.

  115. I have decided this blog has no worth in Librarianship and am disappointed LJ even brought you forth as noteworthy. I’ll be sure to take note of the lack of professionalism you have in your “library” position. I feel sorry for all of those who work with you. To even joke that you go on interviews for fun when others out there are having a tough time trying to find work in this lame excuse for an economy, is not funny at all. Be serious once in a while and give us something worth reading, has some substance…

  116. How refreshing. We should all work in a place where feathers regularly float down about us as they do in this blog.

    Keep up the great work.

  117. Non-professional says:

    OMG, I can’t stop laughing…you made my day! Thanks…

  118. what me worry? says:

    I think I’m going to send a printout of this entry to my previous HR department – and copy it to my old bosses – anonymously, of course. I’m not stupid, I still want to be able to use them for a reference.

  119. Hilarious!

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