Librarians as Library Users

Warning: this post has only questions and no answers. End of warning.

(Should this warning be attached to more posts? Is the vacuous “may” called for, e.g. “this post may have only questions and no answers”?)

How do you think librarians behave when they use the libraries? That is, how do they consume library services outside the hours and scope when and where they are the producers of such services? Librarians are probably heavy readers, and so they may use the library more intensively than the average users. They probably know more about what the libraries have to offer, so they may use more extensively than the average users.

Based on personal experience, and solely personal experience, which is worth . . . well, you be the judge, I can say that I’m a whiz with my research library catalog. I happily take advantage of inter-library loans, and I’m beginning to think that engaging in patron-driven-acquisitions is a contribution on the part of users and not a burden imposed on severely stretched library budgets. Moreover, being a library user gives me plenty of ideas about things that I’d like to improve on at “my” library once I’m in a position to do so. (Watch out world!)

On the other hand, I’m about as careful as an average library user when handling a book. I condone post-its as bookmarks. I’m not particularly attached to books as objects. I don’t insist on the codex as my preferred format for reading; for different types of books, different containers are best for information exchange and retention, I say.

But I’m curious about others. How do my fellow librarians act in the libraries? Do they all use the libraries in which they work? Do they use them in ways that us outsiders can only dream of? (Imagine getting to handle an original Gutenberg Bible.) Or, are they more book buyers than book borrowers? Are some so busy that they use the libraries strictly for work? Any ideas?

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2 Responses to Librarians as Library Users

  1. Lisa F says:

    I think I check out books way less now than before I became a librarian, strangely enough. Unlike you, I am very attached to books as objects and I like having my very own copy on my shelf. On the other hand, now that I’m a medical librarian, I research all health problems that I (or anyone I know) have with elaborate, elegantly constructed PubMed searches worthy of systematic reviews. 😉

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