What do librarianship and parenting have in common?

Working on a library counter and looking after a baby actually have a lot in common. Like what, you ask? Well let me tell you…

  • Constant interruptions – not much explanation needed really, the half finished labelling job/half empty dishwasher says it all.
  • Complex systems/information – library catalogues, online renewals, they can be complicated although there is a growing UX (user experience) movement in librarianship seeking to make library stuff work more better. In baby land, pretty much every thing is complex, mainly due to too much choice, but some things are just plain complicated. Cloth nappies, I’m looking at you.
  • Unsociable hours – library users and babies want a 24/7 service, simple as that.
  • Acronyms – DD, DS, DH, STTN, CC, RDA, OA, OPAC, LCSH.* Parents and librarians love our acronyms!
  • Dealing with puzzling problems – in the library this takes the form of inquiries. The book I want is not on the shelf – where is it? My singing teacher wants me to get the music for this piece, called (insert unintelligible foreign language song title here), I think it’s by Mozart, but I’m not sure. At home, there are lots of puzzles, the main one being, why is baby grumpy?
  • Manual handling required – Babies and books (and orchestral sets and scores and printer paper) require carrying around. Though I’ve gotten better results from baby power lifting.

What else? Leave me a comment and I will reply in four months. [Post originally drafted in October (four months ago)…]

*Dear Daughter, Dear Son, Dear Husband, Sleep Through The Night, Controlled Crying, Resource Description and Analysis, Open Access, Online Public Access Catalogue, Library of Congress Subject Headings

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