ASSOCIATES (2008, November, v. 15, no. 2)


Library Life:
A Column of Eclectic Rantings

Katie Buller Kintner

Let me start by reminding everyone that I have not worked in a library for almost five years. That I have worked at all is something that a lot of people would question but officially, I now work part time at a local pharmacy.

As a cashier, who is the lowest of the low in the retail store business, I am constantly striving for ways in which to use the skills I learned in my twenty odd years of library service. This is not as far fetched as it may seem, as the pharmacy business also deals with vendors, lost orders, invoices and oddly enough, occasionally books.

To the average library worker, this probably makes absolute sense. However, to the average pharmacy manager, it seems, this experience is all prefaced by the word “library” which automatically tunes them into the “I read books all day” assumption. Everything else gets lost in the translation.

What this is leading up to is my thoughts on which of my library skills (using the term loosely) are applicable to other work. Therefore, I am presenting another one of my famous LISTS. Ha! Gotcha!

Lion taming: A lion is not unlike the average college faculty patron who would love to jump over the counter and pound you for not having the book they want on hand. Let’s face it–wouldn’t you like to have a chair and a whip some days? But as library workers, we have learned the skill of patience, fake smiles and bowing/scraping. Add the chair and whip and off to the circus you go.

Specialty cleaning: After disasters and horrendous crime scenes, specialized cleaners come in alien-like hooded white jumpsuits and completely bring the site back to normalcy. Who’s to say that someone who has cleaned up soda-rotted carpets and mopped up tossed cookies couldn’t apply those skills to that job?

Odor judger: This specialty position is usually responsible for testing the effectiveness of anti-perspirants and deodorants. If you worked mostly in public areas, then you should be able to slide right into this one and hit the ground running.

Skip-tracer: These people track down people who don’t want to be found. Come on—after tracking down people with overdue books, fines due, etc., a former library worker should be pretty good at this one.

Fortune cookie writer: Yes, a human being actually writes those things. Library managers who have to make five year plans, ten year plans, etc., might be very good at writing fortunes that really don’t mean anything. Budget managers can contribute those lucky numbers too.

Adult store attendant: Hey, you have to clean it up in the book stacks, so what’s the difference if you have to clean it up in a store? Yes, I do have a very short story to tell on this one but it’s far too disgusting to put down here.

Dog food tester: Another job you wouldn’t expect a human to be doing is dog food tester. While on the surface this may not seem to translate well from a library job, but I’m thinking about that sneaky staffer who will steal and eat literally anything left unattended in the break room refrigerator. You know the one.

Fantasy broker: Normally these people are employed to make every wish of their employer come true no matter how weird or kinky. Come on, there HAS to be opportunity for a library worker there.

Pet detective: Jim Carrey’s movie has proven that there is such a thing. Extend that to Jerusalem bugs, black widow spiders, ants, roaches, and tiny mammals with long skinny tails and library workers should be pretty good at that one.

Gum buster: Yes, this can be done full time! Hallelujah! If removing gum is something that you dream about doing every day, these people actually are paid for doing ONLY gum removal! Just think—going from library to library, removing gum, collecting some cash and moving on without a care in the world!

Now that’s my perfect job.


Hebert, Eric. “37 jobs that you can actually make a living at.” Job Profiles: Your Guide to Careers and Education. 3/12/07. Accessed 11/3/08.