antieuclid (antieuclid) wrote in libraries,

Two kinds of library people...

I've been developing a theory over the past few weeks, namely that there are two types of people who are drawn to working in libraries. Group A likes books and reading, and likes being around that many books and helping people find books they'll like. Group B likes systems and organization, and likes the fact that everything can be put into it's proper place in an efficient way. In my first library job, at a large academic library, most of the more enthusiastic employees (as opposed to rather apathetic college student workers) were firmly in Group B, and the only real Group A people were in the Special Collections department. Whereas in my new job, at a smaller public library, absolutely everyone is in Group A, and I seem to be the first Group B person anyone there has ever met. On the plus side, this means that there are wonderful displays of books, very friendly and helpful staff, and one of the best reference desks I've seen in a public library. On the other hand, it means we have nearly ten cubic yards of books sitting, unsorted, in bins, shelves, and blatent piles in the back room. It has gotten to the point that I've considered buying a false mustache and trying to pass myself off as a volunteer to try to get through some of the backlog. When I ask what the permanent solution to this problem might be, I find out that the plan is that people usually don't check out as many books around Christmas, and we'll probably be able to get to everything then. But I digress.

My point is that it's important to have a mix of both types of people for the proper running of a library, and that they each gravitate to certain jobs. Group A people to Reference Desk, Circulation, Aquisitions, Children's, etc., and Group B people to Stacks management, Cataloging, and jobs like that. I know that I would make a lousy Children's librarian, because while I'm all in favor of children reading, I have no particularly strong desire to help them do that. Similarly, having Group A people running the Stacks department leads almost inevitably to giant piles of books in the back room because they don't have the drive for system optimization that I do. They just keep doing things the way they always have and react to increased circulation volume with increased staff.

I'm mostly just blowing off steam here, but I was wondering what other people thought of my theory and whether they considered themselves Group A or Group B.
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