I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan

I Work at a Public Library
Gina Sheridan


Here’s a great collection of library stories straight “from the stacks.” Gina Sheridan, a public librarian in St. Louis, Missouri, has seen it all at her job.  From unusual requests and confused questions to lonesome souls looking for conversation, she uses more than her library degree to guide her patrons. At my library job, I field a lot of questions, particularly about how to use the public computers, so I can definitely relate to this one:

A man using the public computer asked me for help.

MAN:  Yeah, what’s the difference between Microsoft Word, Google Chrome and a website?

ME:  Well Word is a program you use to type something up, like a letter or a resume. Chrome is an Internet browser you’d use to look at website. And a website is a space on the Internet to exchange information.

MAN:  Which one do you like best?

The book is cleverly formatted – using the Dewey Decimal System to organize Sheridan’s material into many sections including Computers, Reference Work, Communication, and Rare Birds. And her deadpan responses to baffling questions and strange disclosures make me feel closer to library workers all over the world.

But library stories are more than commentary on the oddities of human behavior. Sheridan balances these with heartwarming expressions from patrons of all ages. In one story, a little girl declares she wants to grow up to be a “sparkle librarian” just like the librarian who reads her stories because “she’s always smiling and wears nice jewelry.” In another, a down-on-his-luck man returns with a catered lunch to thank the staff for helping him find a job, telling them he will never forget them. I may not work at Sheridan’s library, but we have plenty of stories just like these.

I Work at a Public Library is great look into what it’s like to, you guessed it, work at a public library. But you don’t have to be a library worker to appreciate the humor or understand the good feelings the author gets from helping people. This one can be enjoyed by readers on both sides of the reference desk!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

…and thanks to my son for this special Christmas present!

17 thoughts on “I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan

  1. This sounds like a very enjoyable read, Barbara. Lucky you to receive it as a gift. Lucky us that you decided to share. 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Book Club Mom and commented:

    I just finished reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean and I’m working on a review. Meantime, to get you in the library mood, here’s a great book about what it’s like to work at a public library.

  3. I had not heard of this book but I have a librarian in the family and am friends with several. I always enjoy their stories. I have to check this out and share it with my friends. Many thanks for shining a spotlight on it.

    I hopped over from Book Club Mom’s blog 🙂

    1. My son gave it to me for Christmas a couple years ago – it’s very amusing! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you’re having a nice evening!

      1. Sounds like a great read. And sorry–I got confused on the blog and reblog. I think I stayed in the same place (blog) the whole time, LOL!

  4. Love this! I’m a librarian but have only worked in a public-serving (not only public libraries do this) for about 3 of my 30 years as a librarian (and 5 more as support staff), but the human aspect of the job, the “social worker, bartender, hairdresser”-confidant role and the people watching are the best part of the work imho.

    1. You’re so right – each library has its own stories and regulars, but there’s a common thread and we all play similar roles. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. This sounds like a delightful book to read. I got a chuckle out of what you shared here. I’ll look for the book. Maybe ask a librarian to find it for me, even. 😉

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