The Jolly Librarian Goes on Retreat

In the past when I’ve told friends that I’m going to a library director’s retreat, they have laughed and ridiculed me:

“Your job is nothing but a retreat.”  (I actually like this one, since I have to admit that most librarians I know are so happy in their jobs that it probably does seem that way to those on the outside.)

“So what? Do you all sit in opposite corners reading books for two days?”  (That one’s just so wrong on so many levels.)

Therefore, the Jolly Librarian has no choice but to clarify the biggest myths about librarians on retreat:

  • Myth 1: It is a silent retreat. Fact: In general, librarians who come on this retreat are quite chatty. Last year, I was the chair-elect of this group, and one of my duties was to take minutes. It was a horrifying experience. There was never a moment of silence to get caught up. And there was great deal of brainstorming off each other, so ideas often led to a future topic on the agenda or whirled around to a past topic.
  • Myth 2: Librarians only talk about books. Fact: In general, get any group of librarians together today, and the talk is going to be centered around computers, databases, smart phones, tablets, and apps. In our group today, I looked quite outdated with my Dell laptop as my colleagues whipped out Ipads and shared their latest app finds with each other. In many cases, libraries are some of the first adopters of new technology. We have to be acquainted with what are patrons are using and needing. Still, just in case you’re wondering, librarians can still talk quite intelligently about books, although some of us may be reading them on Nooks and Kindles.
  • Myth 3: A library retreat must be a solemn affair. After all, aren’t librarians, by nature serious creatures? Fact:   All the librarians I know take their jobs seriously, but take themselves pretty lightly. There’s a lot of laughter and good-natured  joking at our retreats. In fact, the two things that I will always remember about my colleagues here are how much we laugh and how willing we are to share ideas.
  • Myth 4: Okay, so librarians like to laugh, but I bet a lot of their jokes are kind of nerdy.  Well, that’s not actually a myth.
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