BTW, I’m on Pinterest. Sorry, what I meant to say is I’m constantly on Pinterest. It’s addicting and mind-numbingly entertaining. Funny things, pretty things, nerdy things: I pin them all. Recently I managed to talk my academic library into creating a Pinterest account. Yes, even academia loves creating digital pinboards – albeit, library-related pins are usually kind of snore-worthy. LibGuides are great, but I’d much rather pin pictures of piles of puppies.
A while back I created a board to chronicle the interesting, amusing and sometimes bizarro media representations of librarians – find it here. While looking over my past pins, I noticed that I had not one, but three separate images showing what I thought was a meme called Ostrich Librarian. After a quick image search, I found the official title for this frazzled oversize bird: Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich. This meme may have begun by chronicling the trials of overworked booksellers, but quite a few of these “I’m surrounded by idiots!” lamentations are shared by equally overworked librarians, especially those who work with the general public. A coworker of mine who has experience with the public library in town once told me that after a prolonged time of working a desk day in, day out, you gain a sixth sense. For example, when a certain type of person walks up to you, you just know they’re looking for Fifty Shades of Grey. (Wait, is that still a thing? Tell me it’s not and you get a cookie.) Even in the world of academic libraries, there is repetition. With repetition comes boredom. And as regular readers to this blog may know, with boredom comes evil librarians.
There is therefore some overlap between librarian and bookseller, and not just because we both deal in information and dead trees. Whether this ostrich is a better fit for either profession is up for debate, but her visage definitely leans toward spinster, myopic librarian. She’s wearing a pair of cat’s eye glasses, her hair is sticking up and about in a comical fashion, and her mouth is open in a Joker’s smile/grimace that makes her seem she’s truly at the end of her rope. She’s a sarcastic know-it-all, ready with a comeback no matter the horrible question she receives, especially if that person has bad taste in books.
I pinned her three times on Pinterest not because I know how she feels – to be honest, very few people ask me about actual, honest to goodness books. (E-books, yes. Book-books, not so much.) On the other hand, I recognize the sentiment. We live in an age of information, and yet sometimes the questions you’re asked are just… depressing. The Judgmental Ostrich can stand for anyone who puts themselves out there in the public realm who perhaps think themselves above the people they serve every day. That’s why I sometimes look at the Judgmental Ostrich and think “I know that feel, sis. I know that feel.”