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I have this irrational fear of librarians, the sort that butcher with a look, the kind that I dread encountering alone in the deepest, most deserted aisles of the history section, far enough removed from the crowded fiction and self-help shelves that the cavalry can only come too late. Most of the library ladies of my childhood were sweet, helpful creatures always happy to assist me in finding some obscure book about my latest obsession, but some are genuinely terrifying and I am positive at least a few keep a hit list. This, presumably, would be filled mostly with kids who ran in the library or blew gum or racked up hefty fines and then left town. I can feel their eyes on my back when I hurry past, hunched and holding my breath like I used to do when passing graveyards, and it's like they see through my soul to that book from my old school library still buried in my closet. I just know I would be standing around immersed in a book, and just at the corner of my eye, the tip of a very long nose would be drawing ever so slowly over my shoulder, and I would feel a hot snort and know she was right there, just behind me, and I would simultaneously jump three feet, experience a heart attack and throw the book at her.

You see, I have a tendency to occasionally return books a little late. Once I saw a comic strip in which a little boy's closet monster manifested itself as a Library Lady that threw a bloody ax past his head for never returning Green Eggs and Ham. This has somehow become my image of myself and my librarian, except instead of Green Eggs and Ham it would be Washington's biography, and she wouldn't miss my head.


  1. a_little_wisp's Avatar
    GWAHAHAHA, oh, this made me laugh- and I have the same problem. I'm kind of concerned the whole library staff at my university is after me. It's not that I don't WANT to bring them back, it's that... sometimes they get lost (and I find them in my bed, usually - books are faithful lovers, but I'm a cheater when it comes to literature). And it's the weirdest stuff ever, like quotes by Chekhov and some old collection of welsh folklore. My biggest problem is checking too many out at once. I get excited after picking one up that I want and then move on to another topic of interest (arriving an hour later back at the desk and grinning wickedly over a pile of books).

    Alas, awful fines - I know them well.
  2. prendrelemick's Avatar
    Ahh yes, the walk of shame up to the library desk with an overdue Iris Murdoch.
    So terrible a prospect that I send the Wife.
  3. sprinks's Avatar
    haha aww I work in a library and as of yet I've not thrown a book at anyones head! In fact most librarians at my work have a bizillion overdue books themselves! I remember at my interview I was worried they wouldn't give me the job because I had a lot of overdue books!
  4. Virgil's Avatar
    That's cute Higley. I've never had this fear. I think the only fear I've had is looking stupid asking a librarian where a particular book is, when i should know it myself.
  5. sprinks's Avatar
    Virg, I once had to go look up where some books were for someone, only to return to the section... only to realise that they were right where I was standing when I was asked where the books were! . That was a horrible feeling. I'm a fabulous library worker
  6. papayahed's Avatar
    I've talked myself into believing that I'm doing the library a favor by returning books late, my fines must have built that new wing..
  7. higley's Avatar
    sprinks-- too bad you don't work at my library

    This really is a paranoia that started in grade school when someone made the mistake of giving me a library card.
  8. sprinks's Avatar
    hehe yeah I do try to be as happy and approachable as I can at work. I remember when I was little and in primary school and I really wanted to read this book (It was like Winnie The Pooh or something) but the librarian told me that it was beyond my ability and I could come in at lunch and look at the pretty pictures. Apparently she didn't know that I was in all the extension classes at school, and was reading the dictionary almost every night, and I was reading The Hobbit at 8 years old, I'm sure I could have managed Winnie The Pooh . Since then it always just made me read more, trying to get back at that librarian .
  9. Nightshade's Avatar
    I am a librarian now! well qualified have yet toi be employed in the capacity, but as a library assistant I have to say fines as long as you are willing tpo pay them are GOOD for the libraray, I mean as long as you don't hit the 100 mark.
    That is when I get scraed of the customers, who occasionally have been known to throw books at me in anger.

    Virgil there is NO such thing as a stupid question. I was once asked if we still used library scans or if we had moved on to retina scan technology!

    Actually I should post a blog from a librarian perspective, about hiding under the counter when scray customers come in! ( this is not a lie I have done this in the past but I have more confidence now )
  10. Virgil's Avatar
    Would love to hear about that Nightie.
  11. Sarasvati21's Avatar
    Higley, your writing style is great, and I like your 'voice'!