Book Bits: Quiet, Please (Part II).

Here’s a quote on page 113 in Quiet, Please. I’d be interested to hear a librarian’s reaction to the quote.

Maybe that’s what the degree was for. People like her. Smart people who do nothing else because they weren’t developed socially. Maybe that’s what a librarian was, someone who lacked social skills.

Do you dis/agree?

I’ll admit that I’m introverted and smart, but I have social skills that I use when necessary.


19 thoughts on “Book Bits: Quiet, Please (Part II).

  1. I’m not a librarian, but to me “someone who lacked social skills” sounds like a cliché, if it’s used to describe a librarian. I think there are just as many librarians with social skills as there are firemen or school teachers. 🙂

  2. I work at a small-town library and the most important member of our staff, who has been there for 15 years, doesn’t have a degree. She describes herself as anti-social. However, she probably knows more about the library than our director does, who has a degree. A degree isn’t everything…however, admittedly, the director does get paid more than the staff member mentioned.

  3. Librarians need social skills, whether they’re working with patrons or not. Seriously. And just because someone’s introverted or quiet doesn’t mean they don’t have or need social skills. The same applies to extroverts, right?

    One of the biggest Iessons I’ve learned in this first semester of library schools is that librarians need to be advocates. This can happen on all sorts of levels, whether as a speaker in front of groups, during interactions with patrons, department heads or the City Council, or in writing, whether it’s memos, emails, journal articals, letters to the editor in a local newspaper, or blog posts and comments.

    Almost a year ago, when I was in the same place you’re in now, applying to library school, I read the book, Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library. The author of that book made some generalizations that I thought were off-base too. Here’s my review on Goodreads:

    Hey, are you on Goodreads?

  4. I agree with Lesley. Social skills are a necessity. It is a very old cliche (that needs to die) that librarians don’t need to be good with people. Collaboration and instruction are important both in public services and technical services. You need to know how to interact with and teach other people.

    I’m an introvert as well, and I have social skills. Just for the record, being an introvert has nothing to do with shyness or social skills. It just means that a person is energized by being alone, and energy is drained when spending time around people. This contrasts with extroverts who are energized by being around people and don’t enjoy a lot of alone time. I work in a public library, at the reference desk. I enjoy my work, but I will be honest, it can be draining.

    Just as librarian stereotypes are a hot button for Lesley, introvert stereotypes has become a hot button for me. lol This gives me an idea for a future blog post!

    Good discussion though!

    • I like LibGirl09’s description of introverts vs extroverts. People are often surprised to learn that I’m an introvert because I enjoy being around people and talking with them, and I’m pretty comfortable talking in front of a group, but I definitely need some time alone to recharge!

      Just yesterday I looked at three librarian job openings with the State Library of North Carolina, and all three of them specified good communications skills, both oral and written, in addition to technical skills, as well as the “ability to build & sustain effective working relationships with peers & colleagues; work independently & as part of a collaborative team; and perform & coordinate multiple, concurrent work assignments,” in addition to the MLS.

      • In my Technical Services course (last fall), the professor had us look at a variety of current job ads and write about the common themes. I definitely remember seeing written & oral communication skills, collaboration, and teaching others.

        And some people still think all we do is shelve books. *sigh*

      • Yes, shelving books, and since I work in a university library, I also get, “So what do you do with your summers off?” What?!?! 😛

      • Must be! 🙂 Speaking of which, have you noticed that when you google the phrase library school, a lot of the entries are for “school library?” It’s been a good lesson in refining the online search!

      • Perhaps not enough people come in the library to know, but then again, I’ve been going since I was young and wasn’t fully aware. The people who I thought were librarians we’re probably library clerks.

  5. I had a professor in library school who told us about how they read the applications for the program. She said pretty much rejects all applications with essays that just talk about how much the applicant loves books! That sounds harsh, but she pointed out that a good librarian has to love people who love books. We have to love people who love the books that we don’t like. We also have to love more than books: we have to love information. The forms that information takes have changed so much in the past twenty years, and we have to embrace that.

    All of that takes social skills, without a doubt. I agree with the above comments that the introvert/extrovert thing is irrelevant. I’m an introvert, but I’m also very social and I am a leader. Granted, I’m a school librarian, so I’m kind of part of a unique set…but I found that most of the people in my classes had social skills, and that librarians are a dynamic, eclectic, open-minded, interesting group of people.

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