Monday, March 24, 2008

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here

For about three months, working in the library was my dream job. I was working at a department store during the holiday rush, and I had a deep hatred for my bosses, my coworkers, and the consumers. I saw the library as a cozy spot where I would shelve books and form an intimate bond with the collection. Most people have romantic views of the library, but mine was extreme to the point where it was nearly a fetish. I was there every week, tearing through the stacks and wanting to cram all that knowledge in my head, and nothing seemed more heavenly to me than to be in an environment of fellow book-lovers. I filled out an application for Library Page and went into the interview a ball of nerves. I was interviewed by two women; one a balding blob of skin that looked like a pile of rags, and the other a gap-toothed pale gal with cowboy boots and a shirt with a button that was popped open in the center, continuously flashing her bra every time she shifted her upper body. I gave what I thought were the right answers, and told them how much I loved the library. When I left I was filled with excitement, sure that soon I’d have the job I wanted.

A few weeks passed, and I called the library. They said that they were sorry, but that they gave the job to someone else, and that they would "keep me in mind" if another position opened. I discovered later that the spot I interviewed for was taken by a fat black-haired girl who told me that her ex-boyfriend was a heroin addict, and she only applied because a friend of her worked there and suggested it as an easy job where you don’t have to do much. I was persistent, however, and I went into the library every week to ask if something opened up. Probably to stop my asking all the time, they eventually hired me.

I ended up working for this hell hole for around seven years, getting paid peanuts and having to deal with so many levels of stupidity that it boggles the mind. A massive debt and my masochistic urge to "hug the dagger that stabs me" kept me at this place, until I found a place that paid me twice as much to do less. Everyone who worked at my old library has horror stories about it, and even my bra-flashing boss once smiled at me and said, "people have actually compared this place to a concentration camp!" For years I wanted to keep on good terms with this place because I figured the recommendation would be valuable, but not anymore. The Los Angeles County Public Library System blows. If you want to get into library work, start anywhere but there. That’s my advice for the day.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted you to know someone out here is enjoying your posts so far. If you have any more fun horror stories about working in the library, I'd love to hear them. It's therapeutic in a way I'm sure you know. I'm in the library game; livin' the dream. Anyway, too few actual coworkers want to share their horror stories while on the job with me.

Roland Saint-Laurent said...

Thanks! I'm glad someone's reading them and not tapping their fingers wondering, "God, when is Scott coming back? Are we being punished or something?"