Batgirl was a Librarian
March 01, 2003
by Melissa Jenvey,
Connecting Libraries and Schools Librarian,
Nathan Straus Young Adult Library
Librarian. What do you think of when you hear that word… a prune-faced old lady with glasses and a bun shushing everyone in sight? The fate of poor Mary when she doesn't marry Jimmy Stewart in the movie It's a Wonderful Life? Does the tune from The Music Man -- Marion the Librarian -- run through your head? Not all librarians are like that!
Growing up I was a fan of series books; it was comforting to me to know that there were 4,5 even 6 titles to look forward to. So I cut my teeth on All of a Kind Family, A Wrinkle in Time (I have a brother named Charles), The Great Brain, The Narnia Chronicles (I had a cat named Aslan) and the Beverly Cleary books (I have a 1978 Bug named Beezus).
I took my books out of the library but I'll be honest, I didn't always bring them back. I racked up fines, lost a few and had about 5 different cards at a time. Everyone thinks it's really funny that I now have the power to clear records (cool huh?).
I was a Creative Writing major in college and the week before graduation I went to a fortuneteller to find out where this was going to get me. She told me that she saw me surrounded by books and young people (scary, but true!)
My first job was as and editorial intern at Sassy Magazine. I thought it was going to be so great, meeting celebrities and getting free clothes, not really, check out the introduction of the book Yell-oh Girls it's pretty right on about the atmosphere of a magazine. I received some movie passes, a few pairs of free tights (which I still have) and I think I saw Jason Gedrick's left ear (trust me... he was a celebrity at the time). I was also lucky enough to have had the privilege of reading the letters that were sent in by teen readers.
It was then that I decided I wanted to work with young people. I went to Career Day at The New York Public Library and was hired as a Young Adult librarian a job that I love more than I ever thought I could.
I still read series books like The Golden Compass, the Ender books and the Outlander series. I'm much better about getting my books back on time and I try to be really understanding with teens that have fines and lost books I remember how that is. I get to keep up with trends by reading magazines like Cosmo-girl and 17 and books like Fruits. I help purchase Graphic Novels, CD's and DVD's and I get to talk to teenagers every day about books, music, movies, school and of course the library!
When people ask me "how did you get that job?" I always answer "Just lucky I guess"-- though it was obviously fate. So when you hear the word Librarian remember, Barbara Gordon, mild mannered librarian a.k.a. Batgirl and don't ever judge a book by it's cover!
YELL-Oh Girls! Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing Up Asian American edited by Vickie Nam [YA 305.235 Y]
Fruits by Shoichi Aoki [YA 779.9391 A]
A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A. Basbanes [002.075 B]
A History of Batgirl -- Barbara Gordon, Head Librarian at the Gotham City Library, encounters the villain Killer Moth on her way to a masquerade ball.
Librarians -- A look at typical job duties, the training needed, and what you can expect in your paycheque. From the Occupational Outlook Handbook.