I Fought The Librarian Mafia

I am totally paranoid in libraries. I always look for the table as far away from the librarians as possible. And with my back to the wall so they can’t SNEAK UP ON ME.

I am naturally loud and talkative. Oh and I’m not great with rule-following. When I walk into a library, I feel like I have a GIANT SIGN.

Back in high school, I was meaner and dirtier (literally. once my mom asked me how my hair got all wet. i paused and walk over to the mirror confused. Oh mom, i just haven’t showered in awhile. It’s grease.) But I always insisted on spending study hall in the library. My friends and I would snicker. But I don’t really have a snicker. I have a gregarious sound that bubbles up from my stomach and bursts into the room. If you ever listen to a funny speaker or comedian and you wonder if I was there? No need to wonder. Listen. You’ll know I was there.

Back in the high school library I got told to be quiet A LOT. Mostly I got told that I had to leave the library. Once I was banned for two weeks. TWO WEEKS of study hall in the cafeteria. Begging my friends to hang out with me in the stink of fried food and spray on oil.

On the 15th day I come strolling into the library ALL SMILES. Because I am about to begin my guerrilla warfare in earnest. Before it was laughter and chatting. Now it’s ON LIKE DONKEY KONG.

I enlist my friend, B and we engage in a (too) lively debate whether to sneak crickets in. (I get a unfriendly librarian warning. ALREADY.) What could be more annoying than CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP. And if you’ve ever had one in your basement while you are trying to watch a movie? Well, those suckers are hard to find. And when you finally realize that you’ve been chasing an echo and make a quick 180? They jump like nobody’s business. The cricket is all at you and away from you. High and to the left. No wonder THE CRICKET is a deadly ninja move (okay I made that up but maybe I didn’t).

After further discussion, we decided it would be cruel and unusual to subject the crickets to the angry librarian mafia and their giant books of death.

So we implement plan B. We pull out the strips in the books that set off the alarms and place them in people’s backpacks. Because this year the higher-ups installed a big detector to walk through like we were in an electronics store. Except we were in a high school library with dated books. Like a thirty years out-of-date sex-ed book which described menstruation as “the uterus crying for a baby.” So instead of money for the girl’s soccer team, we had sirens and lights that screamed BOOK THIEF BOOK THIEF. And two librarians would swarm. Your book bag was immediately taken and searched. So your nickel bag better be in your pocket and the drawing, highlighting how ugly D is, had better be in the other pocket.

BUT! What happens when no book is found. When it’s a three-inch strip easily stashed where no book could be hidden. Well, what happens is that EVERYONE IS LATE TO CLASS. Because one-by-one we set off the alarm. And are searched. And are found to NOT BE BOOK THIEVES.

So even today, when I walk into a library, I look around suspiciously. I hide in the back. I look for the nearest emergency exit. And I refuse to turn off my cell phone. I merely put it on silent. In case I am texted: THEY KNOW! THEY KNOW! RUN!

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

14 thoughts to “I Fought The Librarian Mafia”

  1. Hah! Did you guys really do that or just plan it out? If so, that’s BRILLIANT! I love a good prank but can never think of them. I would LOVE to be a “media specialist” (um…you rlibrarian term is so politically incorrect. Like calling a flight attendant stewardess..tee hee hee) and have filled out the same grad school applications for Univ. of South Carolina multiple times but never registered. Partly because I couldn’t bring myself to become a “Cock.” Anyhoo! At the Belmont library in Carytown I was asked to be quiet while reading to my son…in the CHILDREN’S AREA! They should just be glad I wasn’t throwing a temper tantrum and throwing books.

  2. Only problem I have with libraries is going to the adult section now that I usually have a toddler in tow. We tried once and I kid you not, it took just 90 seconds for a librarian to come over and ask us to leave and all my daughter was doing was talking. It takes going to a really quiet place to realize just how loudly a toddler talks ALL THE TIME!!!

  3. Our librarians always smelled like Aqua Net, which reminded me of my grandmother, so I could never dislike them. I did sneak in a few caffeinated beverages, though, to aid in the studying and retention of knowledge of various sorts.

  4. i used to work as a book mender in college and learned how to disarm security strips with fridge magnates. also learned that “i’m a diabetic” works to keep snacks no matter what the snack is. Librarians, scary but relatively passive once you get past the crazy person hurdle.

  5. Though I was not the librarian at your school, I remember you well! The scenes you described are exactly the experiences I had with many students. Fond memories and most often my favorite students.

  6. I get super paranoid in school libraries to, and I’m not even much of a talker. It was more when I was on one of the computers and playing games instead of “researching” for a class project.

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