Summer Reading Horror Stories: The Children’s Librarian from Hades

It’s gotten bad here, kids. The summer reading lists have invaded my library with a vengeance. The shelves are getting sparser and sparser (Roald Dahl books are completely cleared out. Sorry, folks!). It is so busy in here, I feel like I’m permanently strapped to a high-speed lazy Susan. Oh, and did I mention that two of my coworkers and I are doing a summer camp here several times a week? I’m losing my marbles.

But, it’s always good to put things into perspective. I don’t have it as bad as Adele, who brings us this gut-churning Summer Reading Horror Story. The names and locations have been changed to protect the crazy.

This GIF can see into your soul. It knows your secrets.

☢ I worked as the supervisor for a medium-sized library where the director was awful. He had a habit of hiring and firing librarians on a whim, and right before the summer he fired a truly great librarian. Her assistant quit in protest.

The replacement he hired had a rather suspect resume, with two different addresses (one on the cover letter was from one place, the one on her actual resume was from another) and she gave some strange references. I didn’t want to hire her, but he wanted her to be the new librarian. Her prior experience had been in a neighboring urban library and in a Children’s Museum, which had just let her go due to budget cuts.

She put together a Summer Reading program that had little to do with the theme “Be Creative.” No, instead, she focused on food. She wanted to name the program Tasty Treats, and her list of programming included the following:

1. A visit from Ronald McDonald, complete with free coupons.
2. Tasty Treat Wednesday – Bring a treat to story hour to share with everyone
3. Let’s Make Popcorn!
4. A visit from Chevy’s Mexican restaurant complete with giveaway coupons

You get the idea. Every single thing revolved around food. She assigned the actual reading of the books to the library assistants, because she was barely literate. I am not sure how she graduated from her undergraduate college, let alone Pratt. She spent the summer torturing the library assistants, calling them odd names (She started calling a woman named Maria “Margarine”) and making them do all the work. She sat in her office, ate a lot of candy, and treated everyone in the department like they were garbage. She also made it clear that she really didn’t like children. The reference department put together the summer reading lists from all the schools and had given her the K-6 list so she could place orders for our collection, but she never did. We had very few of the books that the school system required, so most people stopped trying the library and went to Barnes & Noble to buy their summer reading titles instead.

By the end of the summer she’d been fired but brought a wrongful termination suit against the library. The kids had left the program in droves since there was nothing really there for them, and we had to salvage community relations with some big early fall programming. 

I’m a former children’s librarian myself, and I just can’t imagine why this woman ever wanted to work with children. I miss the person she replaced and wish she’d been treated better. She was amazing.

Why would this  kind of person want to be a librarian? What kind of nickname is Margarine? So many unanswered questions from this awful little story. Yikes, my friends.

Think you can top this Summer Reading tale of woe? Tell Miss Ingrid all about it.

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid


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