I have, in past postings, referred to our profession as the secular nunnery. Sure; we like to wear black and pray for divine intervention whenever someone asks us for a photograph of a dinosaur, but when you think about it, isn’t being a librarian like being in a gang? The similarities are uncanny:
- Gang members use obscure hand gestures to fellow gang members, signaling their membership.
- Librarians use obscure hand gestures to patrons, signaling they’ll be right with them just as soon as they finish answering simultaneous reference questions that arrived via phone, chat and e-mail.
- Gang members wear colorful bandanas to announce their gang affiliations.
- Librarians wear colorful conference ribbons to announce the fact they were talked into being division secretary yet again.
- Many gang members adopt street names to impress their fellow members.
- Many librarians adopt absurdly long position titles for business cards in the hope of impressing colleagues.
- Gang members wear athletic t-shirts and extremely baggy pants.
- Librarians wear outdated summer reading t-shirts and extremely baggy cardigans.
- Gang members tattoo a tear underneath their eye for every person they’ve “taken care of“
- Librarians highlight with a tear on an Excel spreadsheet each serial title they need to cancel to make next year’s budget.
- Possession or use of weapons is often an indication of gang membership
- Possession or use of pointless facts that drive friends insane is often an indication of librarian-like tendencies.
- Several negative encounters with law enforcement could be a sign of gang membership.
- Several negative encounters with incensed mothers who think libraries are just county-sponsored babysitting services could be a sign you’ve been a children’s librarian way too long.
And I think I have even more to come….