there’s a librarian code of conduct that we all learn about, but there should really be a patron code of conduct too, one that doesn’t police our visitors, but instead reinforces why we’re all here:
- you’re not “bothering us” by asking a question, i swear! i work here mostly to help you find what you need. it’s nice of you to be considerate though, and i’m sorry if others have made you feel less welcomed.
- it’s okay to ask questions more than once- in fact, it’s brave to approach a stranger for help at all, even if they’re sitting at a desk marked “information.” even we want to be able to find things ourselves all the time, but opening a dialogue is wonderful and we’re so glad when you do.
- you have the right to read whatever it is that you want to read, whether for school, personal enjoyment, enrichment, book clubs you didn’t mean to join, or mere curiosity. you don’t ever have to be embarrassed to ask for something you think we might deem “unacceptable,” and if any library employee makes you feel that way, they don’t belong there.
- when you compliment us on our service, or our collection, or our programs, or that comfy chair in the corner, it makes our hearts swell as big as a gutenberg bible.
in other words, thank you to those who visit the library, and all other library professionals who aim to make it a welcoming place. you make what we do meaningful, and we care more than you know.
Emphasis added by me.
Passing this along in its entirety, because it’s wonderful and if I still worked reference, I’d print it up and pin it above the desk.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, when preparing for a speech to dedicate the Concord Free Public Library, 1873