SURPRISING SKILLS YOU NEED TO BE A PUBLIC LIBRARIAN
Good organisation, English and people skills are pretty obvious requirements of the job, but to stick it out and progress through your career there are things you need to be able to handle that you have no idea about until you’re on the you are working on the front line of library services.
As a librarian myself I have listed a few other essential skills you need to develop if you are thinking of becoming a librarian.
A STRONG STOMACH
MORALS, VALUES, RESPECT
Being a public librarian means you believe all people, regardless of income, social status, gender, sex, race, ability or education has a right to free and accurate information. I have helped local MPs find a book while the next in line is the regular alcoholic who has come in to tell us his latest relationship woes. Guess who got the better service- BOTH OF THEM OF COURSE.
SELF DEFENCE SKILLS
Well thankfully this is one of the less common skills you will need, but sometimes things get scary. With the reduction of public services impacting the most vulnerable in our society you will come across people who are stressed, scared, intoxicated, and just plain fed up.
Of course, before it gets violent there is usually room to negotiate. From dealing with screaming babies and frustrated parents, to toddlers who want to leave/don’t want to leave the library, to confused tourists, the angry elderly, and teenage romances gone wrong- you’ve got to suck it up and deal with each one with compassion, empathy and a tonne of patience.
Oh yes, of course. Well how else are you going to help the patron who needs to find a book they last read in 1987, who has forgot the title but knows the cover is purple and one of the characters is called Jay?
AN IMPECCABLE MEMORY
If your psychic powers fail you there is always your super powerful, possibly photo-like memory to fall back on. Great for the lady who has read 435 Mills & Boon books and wants you to find a title she hasn’t read yet.
Nothing will get you through the day like a good laugh with your work colleagues. Revel in their weirdness, and learn to express yours. Libraries need so many different skill sets to flourish, so if you have a passion for creating crotchet plants, or writing poetry about marine life, share it!