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What Librarians Wish You Knew About How To Use The Library

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Look, just put down the card catalogue (put it down) and take a very quiet seat, because the librarians are here. And they’ve got a couple suggestions for exactly what you can do with the old collection of vintage National Geographics you keep trying to pawn off on them.

io9’s comment of the day today comes from two librarians who want you to know just exactly how to use (or more importantly, how not to use) one of our very favorite public resources:


I’m a public librarian:

-No, I haven’t read every book in the library.

-No, I don’t read or shelve books all day.

-In fact, my particular job rarely involves books at all.

-Yes, we’re still around. If anything, the internet’s opened up more opportunities for us.

-We’re still pretty busy.

-In most cases, it costs us more to process the book you donated to our collection than it would to buy it preprocessed and shelf-ready from our vendor. We appreciate the sentiment, but it’s rarely cost-effective.

-We really don’t need your dad’s mint-condition collection of National Geographic from 1964-2005. Thanks for offering though.


To add to that from the academic library side of things:

- No, I can’t tell you off hand where every single book in the library is located

- No, we don’t have textbooks for your class. Buying the textbook for every class taught in an academic year (and then buying them again next year for the new edition) is just as prohibitively expensive for us as it would be for you.

- No, the librarians aren’t here to do all of your research for you. They’ll help you with your research, show you how to use our available resources, but they will not complete the assignment for you

- We appreciate donations, but we don’t want your old text books that you feel squeamish about throwing away. I’m sure they were great when you were working on your degree a couple of decades ago, but the information in them is outdated 90% of the time (especially true for any business related texts). We will just end up putting them out for recycling anyway

- You don’t, in fact, know how much the books we buy cost. So shut up and pay your late fees

Corollary: I don’t care how much you pay in tuition. When you borrowed the book, you agreed to return it at the specified date or face the penalties. Shut up and pay your late fees.

- Electronic books are, in fact, valid sources for research. The professor who told you they don’t count because they’re from the internet is a dumb-ass.

Also, 100% on not wanting National Geographics. Throw those things in the recycling, people.


So, there you go. Use these research tips! And then just go make a collage or something. No one wants your old National Geographics anyway.

Image: VanderWolf Images / shutterstock