Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Librarians Embarrassing Themselves

It seems there’s no opportunity to embarrass themselves that at least some librarians won’t avoid. Often it’s the opportunity to make a tasteless video of themselves dancing in the stacks. Lately, it’s this Tumblr, which is apparently so popular it made international news.

It’s supposed to be librarians shaming themselves, but simply embarrassing themselves seems more like it.

Although I’m sure it surprises you to know, I’m not really a Tumblr kind of person. The amount of dreadful you have to wade through to find the few comic gems is just too much. In general, and with this one.

Occasionally they’re almost amusing. For example, “I made my mom navigate the college library for me whenever I had to use books for research papers.” A real go-getter.

Some are a bit obscure for nonlibrarians. Such as, “I haven’t actually shelf-read in more than six years.” I’ve never shelf-read in my entire life, so it can’t be that bad.

Some I assume we’re supposed to find daring, like this one: “I don’t care about teaching library research skills because I GOOGLED my way through grad school and did just fine!”

To which I wanted to reply, no, you Googled your way through library school, and that doesn’t count. Why don’t you Google your way through an academic graduate degree and see how that works out for you.

Then there are the barely literate librarians. “I hate reading books! But I still check them out and they sit on my shelves for months. I can get through 1-3 books per year. I want to read, but it’s hard to concentrate and I feel like I don’t have enough time.”

But you have time to make a stupid little sign and post it online. In your case, it might be a cry for help. Maybe there are medications that can help you.

Or this one: “I’d rather read Dr. Who fan fiction than anything from a library.” More than anything from a library? I find that sad, but hey, a rich intellectual ife isn’t for everyone.

Some are against our professional ethics, supposedly. “I steal most of the books I read from the internet.” Given the ridiculous DRM on ebooks, that one doesn’t really bother me.

Or not caring about the legal restrictions on ripping CDs. Nobody but the RIAA really cares about that one anyway. Those two seem like good reminders that librarians aren’t the bad guys in those fights. Seriously, we’re not the digital rights cops.

Some were good, but could have been improved. “I sat in the inside book drop and could not get out!” That one would have been much better with a photo of the person stuck in the book drop. Maybe a little animated gif of her trying to escape.

Then there are the ones showing people not just as questionable librarians, but as destructive human beings, like the ones about dog earing pages or cracking book spines or writing in books.

Why not just say, “I destroy and deface public property and like it.” While you’re at it, why not defecate on the floor of the restrooms and post about that. The difference is only a matter of degree.

Or this gem: “I take books off the shelf & they sit on my desk for months – & I never actually check them out. (or read them).” Okay, we get it. You’re barely literate. Books are too much for you.

The only takeaway from this entry is that the librarian is an inconsiderate and selfish human being who thinks she’s the only person in the universe who matters. We have a name for people like that, but this is a family magazine.

Some of the librarians are trying to be funny, and some succeed, but overall this is mostly either trite or painful. Maybe there will be some funnier posts to drown out the drivel.

And maybe the librarians destroying public property or acting like aholes will decide to be funny rather than awful.


Please note that new comments for all posts on this blog have been closed.


  1. You said

    “To which I wanted to reply, no, you Googled your way through library school, and that doesn’t count. Why don’t you Google your way through an academic graduate degree and see how that works out for you.”

    Could you explain how a Master’s in Library Science isn’t an academic graduate degree?

    Also, given how little respect you appear to have for the education of the target audience of this publication, maybe you should change your column name to “Annoying Librarian.”

  2. Has there ever been a librarian humor website that rose above mildly amusing or gained some sort of mainstream traction? Sure you see the occasional Letterman or Talk of the Nation appearance from sites like Awful Library Books, but after the initial reoccuring novelty of librarians behaving badly fades away people stop caring.

    The stuff that is actually amusing is too inside basebal lfor anyone but a librarian to care and the other stuff is, as you said, just an example of people being terrible human beings and making the profession look bad by extension.

  3. Dusty Gres says:

    Thank you! I thought that I was the only one who found some of the librarian shaming pretty shameful!

  4. MedLibrarian says:

    I am also glad someone else found the Tumblr shameful! When I first heard about it I was really hoping for some good librarian humor but after reading the posts I felt embarrassed for many of the people who posted, I think some of them need to find another career.

  5. Annoyed Librarian says:

    An MLS is a professional degree, not an academic degree, like an MBA but not like a master’s degree in political science or history, for example. That’s why there are so many practical classes like storytelling and so few that require long, researched essays. The LIS PhD is an academic degree, but it doesn’t train you to become a librarian.

    As for the suggested name change, that’s very clever, and no one has ever made that joke before. Perhaps you could start your own blog with that name.

  6. As one who graduated from a highly ranked MLS program, I feel the need to pile on and say that there was nothing rigorous about successfully completing the program and I barely had to do research of any kind. It certainly didn’t give me any skills I didn’t already possess to help a patron do research. Could I have chosen different classes? Sure, but when they only require 12 to graduate, there’s only so much you can cover before you’re a bona fide librarian.

    Also, this Tumblr is pretty boring. Librarian Problems, on the other hand, is sheer genius that makes me LOL on the regular.

  7. Guybrarian says:

    Librarian shaming? More like librarian laming. This stuff is awful…now go clear out a printer jam or something!

  8. Cut Both Ways says:

    Can we add all “twerking in the library” videos to the category of pointless attention whoring? Beneath the effort required to confess illiteracy among librarians are people shaking their butts.

  9. There’s a blog called “100 reasons NOT to go to grad school”:

    If the current crop of library school grads is representative of post-baccalaureate education these days, then you have to wonder what the point of all that school is.

  10. A professional degree is not inherently less rigorous than an academic degree, nor are academic degree programs entirely free of “practical” classes, nor should they be. In fact, storytelling courses, by way of example, are cross-disciplinary and often cross-listed, with the home department in the humanities as often as library science.

  11. All that time wasted when perfectly group book truck choreography could be taking place.

  12. Why so serious? says:

    There’s actually people offended by ‘shaming’? You are all ridiculous, or better yet, quite possibly dead inside…or at least rotting. Which would explain your crotchetiness. The fact that some of you are embarrassed by these posts is beyond me. It’s not you posting them, nor is the general public going to think all Librarians are writing in these books, or taking them into the bathroom with them. In fact, most of us believe you’re all boring, holier than thou ass-clowns who don’t understand how to make work enjoyable… Or at least poke fun at it. We get it you’re all over educated and underpaid and think your patrons should swoon at the amount of knowledge your highly skewed brain contains. Though those of you ‘shaming’ yourselves give the stereotypical picture of a librarian new life…and a sense if humor.

  13. Perhaps some of us are sick of every person’s need to “expose” themselves on the internet even in an anonymous way. Great so you you do sneaky stuff in the library but half the fun is suppose to be NO ONE knows about it in any way. But I suppose in a Kardashian world every part of someone’s personal and/or professional life is important and must immediately be know to half the world.

  14. I’ve worked in libraries off and on since college. I currently work as a paraprofessional at a major research university library and actually find some of the postings to be true and accurate to some degree. The fancy research databases are not the most user friendly and it is easier to use google or wikipedia to do basic research because, especially wikipedia, it is so user friendly. EBSCO, JSTOR, and their ilk could and should hire some of their programmers to improve to interface of their sites.

    I do love the postings about how many feel that their MLS hasn’t been of good value to them. IMO, it’s a piece of paper that give the ones who have the librarian title and the pay to go with it a license to dump the tedious technical and public contact work onto the paraprofessionals and clerical staff. The only public service that some like doing is reference work and often times, you get better help from current MLS students than reference librarians. I was getting training on how to enter metadata for a specialty collection, which is glorified data entry, and was getting interrupted by one of the students. She couldn’t call the reference librarian who wasn’t in the middle of training and had to interrupt me and a person who came over specifically to run the training.

    I will say that I am guilty of not enforcing food and drink policies because they’re not enforced throughout the building.

  15. Alex Kyrios says:

    I’m really surprised we haven’t seen an AL entry called “Twerking @ Your Library” yet.

  16. Bonegirl06 says:

    Perhaps your name should be Why so Bitter instead…

  17. Librarians Embarrassing Themselves …. True Librarians dont even know that they embarrass themselves. They silently affirm public damaging stereotypes of librarians just like like that. They forget their profession, professional knowledge and professionalism. Many dancing librarians on You Tube ……!! We awake before it is too late.
    Rajashekhar Devarai
    Freelancing Librarian / Blogger :

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