1. Patrons who precede their questions with "I have a strange question to ask you" never have strange questions. People who have truly strange questions have no insight into how bizarre their requests are.
2. Librarians never, ever use the public restroom if they can help it.
3. A public library can never have too many cookbooks, GED, or resume books.
4. All of the library's books on satanism, witchcraft, and spell-casting will go missing. Library fines are a small consideration compared with eternal damnation, after all.
5. There is at least one blind spot in the layout of every library building. This is where patrons will go to vandalize materials and teens will sneak-read books on sex. It is also where bolder patrons will go to have sex.
6. If a novel has a detailed map or a family tree on the endpapers it is way too involved to bother reading. The same goes for novels that contain a glossary of vocabulary words particular to that book.
7. Most patrons will fight you to the death over a thirty-cent fine.
8. There is never enough shelving. Or storage.
9. Marshall's Weeding Maxim : "When in doubt, chuck it out".
10. Never weed a book you personally like, no matter how out-of-date, worn, esoteric, or uncirculated it might be.
11. When in doubt, form a committee. Always give the committee an acronym/initialism for a name. Have meetings. Frequent meetings. With donuts.
12. Teachers will routinely send 100 or more students to the library to research a subject on which there is little or no information.
13. Make all the signs you want; no one will ever pay any attention to them.
14. If you should happen to remark that you haven't seen a particular patron in the library recently, that patron will soon appear. This is especially true of patrons you don't want to see.
15. Big pencils are for librarians. Little pencils are for patrons.
16. Always refer to patrons by descriptive nicknames - (Typhoid Janet, the Matador, Hat Guy, Creepy Floyd, the Decibel Family).
17. Never use a new envelope to mail an Interlibrary Loan. Always use the rattiest one available and seal it with miles of tape and hundreds of staples. Some ILL envelopes are made entirely of tape.
18. The number of times an organization is permitted to use the library's meeting room is directly proportional to the quality of snacks and beverages they leave behind for the staff.
19. The closer it is to closing time, the larger the overdue fine and the more adamant the patron will be in their argument not to pay.
20. Ninety-nine percent of professional literature has no basis in reality and no practical applications. Luckily, ninety-nine percent of librarians have no time to read it.
21. The time, money, and effort the library spends on any program is inversely proportionate to the level of attendance.
22. If you cannot find a work of fiction whose title is a character's name, look on the shelf under that name instead of that of the author. For example, Billy Budd by Melville will be at BUD and David Copperfield has been shelved at COP.
23. The "e" in "eBooks" stands for EVIL.
24. Tutors believe they can talk in the library because they are EDUCATORS. Their sacred mission absolves them from the rules of etiquette that apply to lesser beings.
25. Software developed specifically for libraries always sucks. No exceptions.
26. The less you deal with actual books, the less of a librarian you are. The business of librarians is books. All other library activities are incidental to books.
27. Whenever possible, stamp right in the middle of the celebrity's forehead when checking in periodicals.
28. Ninety-nine out of one hundred patrons will be friendly, polite, and sane. Sadly, it
is the one rude, unpleasant, or crazy patron you will remember from your
workday. Try to remember the majority and reflect on the good people
you serve. This is not easy to do.
29. Never let Consumer Reports out of your sight. Especially the April issue.
30. There are two types of genealogy patrons. One knows nothing about genealogy and thinks you can find all the information they need in five minutes using the Internet. The other knows more about genealogical research than you ever will. Both just want to talk about their ancestors, a subject of interest only to them. You cannot help either type. Just listen and nod.
31. The print output of Danielle Steel and James Patterson is a major cause of deforestation.
32. An amazing number of people leave the house without ID or even the smallest amount of money.
33. The person closing the library, no matter how clumsy at other tasks, learns early to flush the public restroom toilets balancing on one foot like a well-read ninja.
34. Never trust the shelf status of the online catalog. When a patron phones to request an item, go to the shelf and pull it. If you do not it is guaranteed that item will not there. You will then have to deal with an angry patron who has traveled to the library for nothing. This is a mistake you will only make once.
35. Close on a Monday, suffer for it on the Tuesday.
36. It does no good to tell the public that your library only accepts donated books that are in "good shape"; not moldy, musty, torn, stained, and/or stanky. All donors will swear their books are in pristine condition no matter how nasty they actually are. Graciously thank the patron and proceed to the nearest recycling bin.
37. Do not leave any item you wish to continue owning in plain sight at any service desk. If you left a live elephant perched on the Reference Desk someone would manage to "borrow" it.
38. Despite the many patrons who will tell you otherwise, pornography does not just "accidentally" appear on computers.
39. If you are a library staff member, do not place holds and make your coworkers fetch them. They rightfully will resent you. Pull your own books, you lazy bastard.
40. You never realized so many strange people could live in one city.