Librarians Ruin Everything!

Evil Librarians

As Holly and I prepare for ALB’s “best of” list for 2016, I have decided to tell everyone just how powerful a librarian I am.  Holly is too.  Evidently, I have the power to ruin all sorts of things in our daily lives and wreak havoc everywhere.  Here are some of the wonderful /evil things I have perpetrated among during my reign of terror in library service.

EVIL Disclaimer

Although I may have appeared to have abused my powerful library skills, I am in fact, really not that bad. I really don’t want to RUIN everything.  I have really tried to keep my evil powers in check.

  • I have been told it is my fault because the Farmer’s Almanac did not say it would rain on their precious daughter’s wedding day.
  • I have also been requested to predict the weather over a year in advance more times than I can count. In one instance, it was implied that I would be “reported” to a local Detroit TV weatherman.
  • I have ruined a family event as a meeting room was not available on a particular date. According to the patron, this disappointment will kill all the elderly relatives that were attending.
  • I have been accused of corrupting the youth by offering programming that celebrated a satanic holiday (aka Halloween), accused of hating America because I didn’t have a 4th of July event, and discriminating against gifted kids because our Summer Reading program didn’t have a special, separate program for gifted toddlers.
  • Evidently, I am also responsible for breaking Google and the Internet. Evidently our library is “too cheap to pay for the good Google and Internet.”
  • I have also ruined the reading experience:  because our library chose to use receipts instead of stamping the books.
  • I have ruined the entire library: because we have too much “liberal clap trap” and/or too much “conservative crap”
  • I also ruined a used book sale at the library because I insisted that the volunteers take down a sign that said “Black People Books”.
  • Ruining summer reading by not having a competitive reading contest, because how will we know who the “best” reader is?
  • Ruining a vacation, because I should have told them that it might snow. In January. In Michigan.

I know that everyone out there in library land is also pretty good at ruining everyone’s life and/or day as we all continue to fight the good fight in service and literacy. We are with you!

Peace, Love, and Stable Library Funding in 2017

Mary and Holly


  1. i ruined the library by discarding hundreds of 10-50 y.o. medical, travel, and reference books. “bare shelves are bad!!”

  2. As a 40+ year library volunteer, all I can do is thank you for the giggles and your patience with the public My inner 12 year old especially snickered at “liberal clap trap” as my mind immediately flashed to the patron who needed info on STDs “like, yesterday!” I sent her to reference.

  3. OMG! I’m so sorry you have experienced these things, but thank you for sharing as I laughed my arse off!

  4. According to the patron, this disappointment will kill all the elderly relatives that were attending.
    “Ah, then you’ll appreciate our newly expanded 155.937 section!”

  5. I once ruined a patron’s day by not being able to tell her what color her dog was. Over the phone.

  6. yes on the gifted toddler! i saw where a parent had signed up their two year old for all our art programs last summer (children’s, teen’s, AND adults!) some of these involved cutting things with knives, etc. the mother told me that she was not like most two year olds. i repeated that we set age requirements for a reason and she was not happy and cancelled all her family’s sign ups for programs. geesh!

  7. I always loved it when they came in asking for the “blue” book you had on display…2 months ago!

    1. My favorite recent question was: “I’m looking for a book, appropriate for a nine-year-old, that tells the story of the musical Cats. Does such a book exist?” That second sentence was key–I think most librarians do fine with the people who ask for unreasonable-sounding things and KNOW that those things sound unreasonable. It’s the people who think their requests are totally normal who turn out to be the really odd ones.

  8. Housebound patron telling me I need to read the books I get in for her each fortnight to make sure there’s no bad language, no sad bits, nothing indecent, the print is the right size and the book should be not too long.

    She is one of 10 housebound patrons I source resources for and goes selectively deaf when I try to explain why I can’t do this. Then she criticises the service I provide…

  9. I ruined students’ exams every year while at the university library. They came running in hordes, panicking, a week before their exam, clutching their mandatory reading book lists and asking me where the books were.
    None of them had ever been to the library before, none of them had bought their own books, trusting the library to keep enough copies for them. None of them really understood the weird concept that *other* students had checked out those books weeks ago, and were not about to return them just before their exam.
    None of them passed.
    And, none of them got any sympathy from me.
    They had an entire school year to check oout the damn books, noone can cram an entire year’s supply of new knowledge into their brains and make it stick, in a week.
    And these were our future doctors and nurses…

  10. I was at my local library a couple of weeks ago, and overheard a crochety old man ranting (not yelling, but obviously annoyed). He was annoyed because he had to renew his library card in person. He asked why, and I felt like stepping in and saying “so the library staff knows it’s really you, durrr”

  11. If you celebrate Halloween you’re supposedly Satanic, and yet if you actually could correctly predict the weather on an exact date at least a year from now you’d probably be burned at the stake.

  12. Remember…you are supposed to have TWO copies of EVERY book in the high school library just in case a student leaves their originally signed-out book at home! Otherwise, prepare to be cursed: “This library sucks!”

  13. I was once told that I would be stabbed with a knife after my shift because I could no longer extend the computer use for a patron (the system only allows 3 hours per day par patron). I waited for patron after my shift but she never showed.

  14. Patrons have called me the “b” word more times than I can count, but I don’t think anyone has ever accused me of ruining anything. Guess I’ll have to work harder!

  15. I was accused of acting immorally and “wrecking civilization” because I weeded the Mathematics collection. Apparently being able to access material online wasn’t good enough as a solar flare could wipe out the internet. Can’t help feeling not being able to access an old textbook on Goldbach’s conjecture would be the least of society’s problems if that happened.

  16. Wait – now I really want to know what the story is behind the “Black People Books” sign. What are “Black People Books?” Why did the volunteers put the sign up? Why were they upset that it was taken down? Who picked these volunteers that they were so awful?

  17. I ruined my school library because I have daily story-time and apparently story-time is “a waste of school time”. Sigh. Let’s keep fighting the good fight…

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