I love being a librarian. And as a librarian I will take up most causes, promotions, events. I will willing give you whatever information you want and don’t want (but hey! maybe one day you’ll realise I was right and you did need it and you’re welcome). I (humbly big noting myself here) am a dedicated librarian.
When the powers that be asked me to celebrate National Simultaneous Storytime. Great, I did it! When I was asked to take part in National Science Week – I was there with safety glasses on! Four years in a row now (but who is counting). When I was asked to take part in Public Lending Rights counting (in pre Online Catalogue days) I volunteered. And so the story goes from ALIA week, to Library Lovers’ Day to Heritage Week even threatening to make “Avast! ye’ll walk the plank, ye landlubbing, fine dodging curmudgeon” on Talk Like a Pirate Day. I am hands on!
Even when twibrarians get in the swing and start library #hashtags trending – I get involved. Yup. I’m there, in the midst of the #savelibraries, #followalibrary, #followalibrarian, #readit2011, #AliaIoc, #reading, #nswra, #hcod, #followreader, #spbkchat….you get my drift. I’m there with bells on. And I’m there with bells on because I want to be there.
But today, my lovely leaders in the ether whoever you are. Today, you declared the day to be the International Hug a Librarian Day. I’m sorry but I cannot support this program. I cannot open up myself to strangers throwing their arms around me, I cannot endorse this touchy feely program. With Hug a Librarian I feel that you have entered my personal bubble, that cone of silence that I hold sacred – my body.
I am quite happily a “No touching” type of person.
When I am with my family, I am affectionate. I hug my children, I kiss them and adore them. I hold my husband’s hand in public (really – I do!), I kiss him and adore him. But that is my “Out of work” personal life and even there I am not overly touchy, feely.
But in the workplace, I am a professional and a “No Touching” rule prevails. Affection does not come into it. As it stands, I really don’t appreciate having to approach the occassional amorous, horizontal teenage couple in the corner of the library to tell them to keep it vertical and frankly, I don’t want any of the 1000’s of borrowers that cross the library threshold to feel that I am in need of affection of any kind. I am happy in my answering questions objectively, contributing to someone-else’s information needs. And damn it, no one is walking around proclaiming it’s “Hug an Actuary” day or “Hug a Surveyor” day. Is this another stupid way of perpetuating the grim, spinster librarian stereotype?
So, please, leave me alone to do my job. Do not encourage strangers to give me unsolicited affection. I don’t want dead-pigeons-down-her-top lady hugging me, or the guy-who-exposes-himself hugging me nor do I want that over-perfumed-botox woman giving me “Mwah!”. I just want to do my job. And needy affection is not in my job description. Hell, I don’t know where members of the public have been and frankly they don’t know where I have been either. And we’re all covered with germy germs.
P.S I think that I would have accepted “High 5 a Librarian” Day. Though that too would have entailed touching.