Sunday, September 03, 2006

Libraries: A Family Business

As I was gardening yesterday, I realized it was the first time that I was at home while Bonnie was working at the reference desk at one library and my daughter Laura was working at the checkout desk of another library. I will be back at my library on Tuesday. For now, libraries are the family business.

It gets even better. Both of Bonnie's brothers work in libraries, too. One is a book binder and conservationist, while the other is a seminary librarian. How many families have this many librarians?

I know other couples who are both librarians, including some very close friends. Paul B. Wiener of the library of State University of New York-Stony Brook wrote an eight-page article "Marryin' the Librarian: Two Librarian Marriages get 'Thumbs-up' from Survey Respondents," which ran in the January 1986 issue of American Libraries, pages 16-23. He identified 180 couples, of which 167 submitted photos for the article. Our photo did not make the cut. Too bad there was no Flickr. He could have put all the photos on the Internet.

Laura heard many library-related conversations as she grew up, as she was often stuck in a room, car, or restaurant with four librarians. She claims now that she will never become a librarian, and we would never try to force the profession on her. I would be surprised if she did become a librarian, but I do know librarians whose mothers were librarians. I work with one. I just interviewed two. They all become librarians as a second career.

I do not remember ever meeting a librarian whose father was a librarian. I sure there must be some somewhere.

1986 was a long time ago. I think libraries as a family business needs to be studied again. Send me names and stories by commenting below or by email to ricklibrarian at

1 comment:

Going Crunchy said...

Though Lio is only 2 1/2, he already adores libraries and books. We visit our "home" library where he chats up the librarians each week and "Mama's Library" where he is facinated by absolutely everything.

Though is isn't a family business as of yet, I'm thrilled with hearing Lio say "Mamma has to go to work in Mamma's Library. She has to go help people."

I don't know if he will ever be in it as a profession, but I know that he will grow up spending a great amount of time in Libraries and appreciating all they have to offer. I think this will give him a foundation that he can build upon in every profession.