The Un-Lax Librarian

We all know the Librarian stereotypes. They say “Shhh”, even if you haven’t actually spoken. They never smile. They wear wide-framed, black-rimmed glasses. They have a sleek bun. They wear skirts as long as their socks. They refuse to break ANY rule, regardless of how ridiculous is.

I thought that this was an Urban legend. I’ve never met a librarian that actually fit this description.Except on Halloween. And then, well, we all know that people don’t dress up like librarians because they actually aspire to be one. Their goal is sexy, not stereotypical.

But today, I encountered a real, live strict and stereotypical Librarian. I’m pretty sure she probably possessed a ruler…and not the kind to draw diagrams, either.

I went to the library to check out some books. This was done in order to avoid spending money I don’t have shopping. I thought I was doing a great thing.

The librarian thought otherwise.

I didn’t have a West Des Moines library card before I made my attempt. The first time I tried, I was shut down because I did not have proof of my new address. You would assume that this would be alright. To my knowledge, I’ve never heard of any criminals trying to break into the library business and use a false address in order to accumulate an array of stolen books.

The previous librarian was semi-strict, yet nice about it. She vowed to give me a card as soon as I brought a piece of mail with my address.

So today, I make the return trek. I brought a letter from my mom, and was sure that a new card was near. Unfortunately, I had failed to memorize the rule that a piece of mail has to be from within the past 30 days. Mine was from September.

The librarian acted as if bringing in a piece of old mail to receive a card was as punishable as pretending to be twenty-one when you’re a pre-teen.

I had to come up with a quick plan. I smiled, said sorry, and even tried to throw in a little sob story about the snow in hopes that she wouldn’t make me drive back to my apartment for another piece of mail.

At first, she wouldn’t budge. She carefully explained the rules, examining my piece of mail as if she were a homicide detective in the lab. She didn’t smile for a single second.

Eventually, after a little back-and-forth (and ALOT of brown nosing on my part), she budged. She made it feel as if I had got away with murder.

Which made me wonder: Are some of the professional stereotypes actually true? Have you ever encountered a strict librarian, a donut-eating cop or a nymphomaniac nurse?


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