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The Laws ofLibrary
L S As Recorded and Observed by the
Faculty and Alumni of the Acme
Upstairs Library School
Patrons who precede their questions
with “I have a strange question to ask
you”never have strangequestions.
People who have truly strange questions
have no insight into how bizarre their
Librarians never, ever, use
the public restrooms if they
can possibly avoid doing so.
A Public Library can never
have too many cookbooks,
GED books, or resume
All of the library’s books on
Satanism, witchcraft, and spell-
casting will go missing. Library fines
are a small consideration to
someone courting eternal
damnation, after all.
There is at least one blind spot in the
layout of everylibrary building. This is
where patrons will go to vandalize
materials and teens will go to sneak-
read books onsex. Bolder patrons will
use this area to have sex.
Ifa work of fiction has a detailed map
or a family tree onthe endpapers,it is
waytoo involved to bother reading.
The same goes fornovels that
contain a glossaryof wordsparticular
to that book.
Most people will fight youto the
death over a thirty-cent fine. They will
likely be wearinga watch that costs
more than you make in 6 months while
There is never enough
shelving. Or storage
space. Or money.
Dr. Marshall’s Universal
Weeding Maxim :
“When In Doubt,
Chuck It Out”
Never weed a book you
personally likeno matter how
out-of-date, worn, esoteric, or
uncirculated it may be.
When in doubt on anycourse of action,
form a committee. Give the committee an
acronym or initialism for a name. The
member with the nicest/best located
library has to host.
Teachers will routinely send 100 or
more students to the library to
research a subject on which there is
little or no information.
There will beNO warning.
Make all the signs you want;
no one will ever pay any
attention to them.
Ifyou should happen to remark that you
haven’t seen a particular patron in the
library recently, that patron will soon
appear. This is especiallytrue of patrons
you don’t want to see.
Big pencils are for
Little pencilsare for
When speaking of patrons with other
descriptive nicknames –(Typhoid
Janet, False Mailman,The Decibel
Family, Mrs. Satan, etc.)
No one has ever used a new envelope
to mail an out of state interlibrary
loan. Always returnthem in the
envelope they came in, no matter how
ratty or mangled it has become.
The closer it is to closing time, the
larger the overduefine and the more
adamant the patron will be in their
argument not to pay.
99% of all professional literature has
no basis in reality and no practical
Luckily, 99% of librarians have no
time to read it.
The time, money, and effort the
library spends on any program is
inversely proportionate to the
level of attendance.
If you can not find awork offiction who title
is a character’s name, look on theshelf
under that nameinstead of the author’s. For
example, Billy Buddby Melvillewill be at
BUDand David Copperfield has been
shelved at COP.
Tutors believe theycan talk in the
library because they are EDUCATORS.
Their sacred mission absolves them
from the rules of etiquette that apply to
specifically for libraries
always sucks. No
exceptions so far.
The business of librarians is
information and books.
All other library activities are
incidental to this.
The less you deal with
actual books and actual
patrons the less of a
librarian you are.
Whenever possible, stamp
right in the middle of a
celebrity’s forehead when
checking in the periodicals.
99 out of100 patrons will be friendly, polite, and
personable. Sadly it is the one patron whois
rude, unpleasant, and demanding you will
remember from the workday.
Try to remember the majority and reflecton the
goodpeople you serve every day.
This is nevereasy to do.
Never let Consumer Reports
out of your sight. Especially
the April issue.
You never realized so
many strange people
could live in one city.