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I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  7,051 ratings  ·  1,367 reviews
Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out!

From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that pl
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 31st 2014 by Adams Media (first published July 4th 2014)
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Thomas They asked if the library could get a library cat. She said no, because pets aren't allowed. They said "What about a dog then?"

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  7,051 ratings  ·  1,367 reviews

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Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
oh, the library…. temple of knowledge, keeper of tax forms, friend of new arrivals to the country. plus, free bathrooms, and your taxpayer status ensures you the right to be there, so it's pretty hard to be kicked out, even for some really crap behavior.

although i have my masters in library science and am technically a librarian, i have never had a paying gig as one. i volunteered at a library for a summer - conveniently located near a methadone clinic - and while i did see some things there i
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I smiled, I laughed, I had tears. I'd like to write my review now while watching softball in the sun, but I want add all my favourite quotes. This is great! Now I'm going to start cataloguing the things I come across. I'm gathering more and more that I will miss a lot of these types of occurances as I work in a University library, but meeting people and hearing their stories is universal.

This book is different to the last anecdotal one I read, it's not just the doozies here, but the tear jerkers
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010s, bibliophilia
I work at a public library. I thought these stories would be crazier. I don't even think they were funny, just "I said this, Patron said this. Stupid, gross patron." and I'm like, this is supposed to be amusing? Kinda snotty and prudish. Clutching pearls.

You know, it's all in the way you tell it. Okay, lemme tell you a library joke. There's this guy. He's the new guy, in a prison. He's in the cafeteria, and he notices that sometimes someone would yell out a number, just a number, and then every
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a fun little collection of wacky library stories. It's another book that has been assembled from someone's blog, which is a growing trend in publishing.

I used to work in a public library and could relate to some of the odd questions and incidents that Gina Sheridan shares here. This book is light and fluffy, and I read it in about an hour.

Fellow librarians will probably enjoy this book, but don't expect any meaningful exchanges.

Favorite Stories
I overheard a young woman showing her mot
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
So... I bought this on the cheap at a store that I frequent that often has remainders at like 80% off of the cover price. I'm glad that I did, because I feel that at $2.99, it was still a little overpriced for the content. At $13.99, that's just insanity.

This is a book easily read in a single sitting, and if I hadn't started it around midnight last night after finally finishing and reviewing Black House, it wouldn't have been stretched out to two. I am kind of glad that I took that break from i
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a collection of stories of the people who use the library in California. Yep, the stories are just as crazy as what is going through your mind. Some are nuts, most are hilarious. Some are adorable, others are heart warming. But all are entertaining anecdotes. This book is a must read for librarians, but fun for those of us who feel like the library is a great place to visit and hang out. I have library cards from all over the country, but my local library here in Maine is my favorit ...more
Lisa Vegan
It was okay. I generally love these types of humor books. Here, a couple of the heartfelt stories were touching and several of the humorous ones were very amusing. Most of the entries were just okay for me, and some weren’t much longer than their titles. I did feel motivated to read it cover to cover though, and when I hit the particularly funny ones it was fun to feel surprised and chuckle out loud.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
"What better place to bring your inquiring minds than the place with the most massive wealth of knowledge in town? It's just like the Internet, only the information isn't 90% false." -- page 27

St. Louis librarian Gina Sheridan has collected various anecdotal "incidents and accidents" (as Paul Simon once sang) about the daily life of her profession. From the odd patrons (dumpster-diving "Cuckoo Carol") to the loud talkers, from the computer illiterate to the mangled title requests ("Do you have "
Deborah Markus
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-gift-idea, humor
You can tell from checking my million updates on this book whether you'll like it or not. My husband surprised me with a copy -- no special occasion, he just knew I'd love it -- so I wanted to share the wealth.

There were two awesome anecdotes that were too long to share as updates. This one made my son do a spit-take:

PATRON: [Gestures at son.] He doesn't like to read, but he needs a biography. It has to be more than one hundred eighty pages.

ME: Do you know if autobiographies count? Hole in My L
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lucky find at my public library. I don't work there, but I've spent lots of time as a patron at several libraries over several decades, and just find them comfortable places to hang out and explore the stacks. This might not be as good as the best of Unshelved but it is better, imo, than many of its ilk. However, if your library can't get it for you, just read the website.

"Do you have any book about how to become a prison guard? Specifically, how to become a prison guard if you've already had so
As someone who also works in public libraries, I can honestly say yep, yep, and yep, that's what it is like. Though luckily so far, I haven't had a patron who confused "annual" with "anal." I also appreciate that when she relates the exchanges with patrons, she isn't hateful about it, like some others I have read, and sounds like she enjoys her job - crazy patrons and all.
Diane S ☔
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
2.5 was a little disappointed in this one. Did not find it as amusing as I thought it could be. Anyone who works with the public experiences outrageous requests and amusing incidents. Truthfully though, I have funnier patron stories than what I found here.
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*Read for free with Kindle Unlimited*

Add librarians to the list of people who have interesting stories to tell :) (Along with hairdresssers, bartenders, all of retail, hotel, and fast food employees.. to name a few).

Some of these were just okay but still funny. For me, it got funnier as the book went on (that Carol certainly sounds like a character, I could see Carol Burnett playing her if it went to a TV spot). One story has me raising eyebrows and grossed out while wanting to smack this person
Heidi The Reader
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really connected with this collection of stories because of my own work in a public library. It felt as if this was a page out of the last two years of my life. It is difficult if not impossible to describe the absurdities, hilariousness, and mind-boggling questions that I receive, daily, at the reference desk. Sheridan has put together a book so that I don't have to explain it anymore. If anyone asks what my job is like, I'm going to point them towards this book. It is librarian gold. I highl ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
this wasn't as funny as i was expecting and some of the stories were definitely fake, but it's the first book i've finished in like a month, so at least it has that going for it
Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
For bibliophiles everywhere. Not all of us have the privilege of helping others wade through the stacks in search of knowledge (of life, the universe, and everything), but most of can appreciate the tales contained in this little tome.

I spotted this while meandering through the stacks at my own public library, and the title caught my eye. I flipped through while standing there and added to my already heavy armload of books - and as soon as I got home I started reading (not going to lie, I was a
Luna Bookish
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Hilarious and adorable. I really loved reading this fast paced book.

I absolutely loved this book! It was hilarious and at times just made me shake my head. It is fun learning about some of the funny and creepy things that happen to librarians while working. The regulars, the weird interactions, hilarious things said by children. I loved how this was organized by topic and the introductions to each section really added to it as well. If this author came out with another book I would pick it up wi
Tracy Reasner
I imagine the same type of stories occur in any place one might work open to the public - working in a bookstore that many customers mistake for a library (whaddya mean you can't squat in the café for 10 hours, enjoying free wi-fi, complaining about lack of outlets, thumbing up 30 magazines & breaking the spines of countless books - none of which you have nor will ever purchase?) I expected more of the bizarre less of the mundane with this one. ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is going to sound really mean but I have to say it: there are a lot of stupid people out there lol

The last section of the book, however, with the heartwarming stories that this author experiences at the library on rare and precious occasions, makes up for it.

Really fun read.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5. This is more like a pamphlet than book, a very rapid read. I kept thinking how library funding is in dire conditions just when the public is such need of a good education. It was a so so read until the final gratitude, it put tears in my eyes, as an avid library user here is a hearty thank you to all the librarians! I couldn't live without my bookmobile and overdrive, I average a book a day and cherish all libraries :-)
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

I Work at a Public Library is, as subtitled, a collection of crazy stories from the stacks, written and curated by librarian Gina Sheridan, based on her blog

With chapters organised using the Dewey Decimal system, Gina Sheridan shares the amusing, touching and just plain weird experiences she, and others, have encountered in their work as a librarian.

The anecdotes are gleaned from overheard conversations, patron questions, observations and encounters with the p
Leigh Anne
Jan 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I tried to read this book and ended up tossing it aside in disgust and frustration. Most of the "comedy" in this book is "punching down:" at the expense of people with mental illness and people who don't know how to use a computer. It's one thing to write about the truly horrible customers, the ones who ruin our day by cursing, screaming, or otherwise acting inappropriately. It's quite another to publish a collection of stories poking fun at the very people we are supposed to be serving the best ...more
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
I loved this hilarious and witty collection. Great quick read and I will definitely read again!
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Cute, quick read. I’m not sure if I just work in a much more exciting library system replete with outlandish stories or if it was an editorial decision by the author, but I found the stories to be really tame.
Mar 08, 2019 added it
Yes it’s exactly like this
Jen • Just One More Page

This review is also posted on my blog.

(view spoiler)
Westminster Library
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
From Christine: This book made me laugh and cringe. I also work at a public library and have experienced many similar situations. I have many more stories that are even crazier than these. Library staff will appreciate this book. This book should also be read by everyone else - libraries aren't the 'nice quiet' places everyone believes them to be, and no we don't sit around reading all day.

From Debbra: Laugh out loud stories for any one who has worked in a library or any customer service job! Fu
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book didn't impress me all that much. Some of the stories in here were heartwarming and some were funny but nothing really stood out to me about this book. I did like the Dewey Decimal numbers listed for the chapters. As a person who aims to learn the Dewey Decimal system, I really did appreciate that. Yeah. Final rating: 2.5/5 stars
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, non-fiction
Made me miss being public-facing more than I already do.
Book Club Mom
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Here’s a great collection of library stories straight “from the stacks.” Gina Sheridan, a public librarian in St. Louis, Missouri, has seen it all at her job. From unusual requests and confused questions to lonesome souls looking for conversation, she uses more than her library degree to guide her patrons. At my library job, I field a lot of questions, particularly about how to use the public computers, so I can definitely relate to this one:

"A man using the public computer asked me for help.

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Gina Sheridan grew up in St. Louis, MO in a benevolently chaotic household full of siblings, animals, and books. She holds a B.A. in English Literature, Society, and Politics from Webster University and a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama. She has worked as a public librarian in California and Missouri. Her interests include YA fiction, social media, cemeteri ...more

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