I wanted to title this something about snakes on a plane but it occurred to me at the last second that it would be cliche and probably out-of-date. Alas. But I do want to address the idea of snakes in a library.
On November 14, we’ll be having a program at Elmwood Public Library called “Hands On Herps.” Herps being slang for herpetological specimens or snakes (I’m not sure but I think lizards are included in that category.) The program starts at 5:30 p.m. and is designed to help familiarize kids with snakes and other crawly critters. There are lots of misconceptions about our slithering friends. People commonly believe that they’re slimy (not unless they’re wet or ill.) They are cold-blooded but if they’ve been basking on a rock, they are as warm as the rock. Venomous snakes are much less likely to bite if you don’t bother them first. Most snakes would prefer to simply crawl away rather than confront you. Finally, somehow, the notion is that snakes have no emotions. Having owned snakes and having known a large number of them, I can tell you that snakes do have emotions. Of course, they aren’t like the emotions we humans have but they do get frightened, they can exhibit happiness, and they can also show pain.
There are also a lot of misconceptions about libraries and library workers. One misconception is that we run around “shushing” people all day. I’ll have you know I haven’t shushed anyone for nearly a decade now. I have asked boisterous people to take it down a notch in polite, friendly terms and they have complied but that’s not the nasty old “SHHHHHH.” Another misconception is that library workers have no life outside of libraries. While it’s true that most of us consider ourselves to be part brick and mortar with book-paste for blood, many of us have fun doing some of the most interesting hobbies. Personally, I train and show dogs as my hobby. I’ve got a lot of crazy dog people as friends who never know my secret identity as “LibraryLady.” And if you are thinking about divulging my secret, just remember, I know who you are and where you live–more importantly, I know what you read.
The final misconception is that all library workers do is sit around and read all day. Like the notion of the slimy snake, only if we’re wet or ill. Most of the time, we’re too busy doing our jobs to read. Alas.