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Library Anxiety - How to Beat It: Librarians: Why are They So Scary?

Library anxiety is a real phenomenon that can hurt your ability to complete your coursework and do library research. This guide talks about what library anxiety is and about some ways to overcome it.

Librarians Are...

Would you want to ask Madame Pince, the librarian at Hogwarts, a reference question?

Neither would I, though I have to admit I admire her ability to pull off that hat.

We librarians like to think that you know that we are deeply committed to helping you find the information you need, that we truly want to help you locate and get your hands on information instead of guarding information like scary dragons. But you couldn't be blamed for thinking otherwise.

Librarians in the media often appear as strict, stern, humorless figures who guard the information in libraries. We are so used to seeing librarians portrayed this way that, unless you are a librarian, you are unlikely to even blink when you see the next on-screen appearance of a scary librarian.

Considering the increasing importance of being able to navigate an ever-expanding sea of information to find the information you, specifically, need, these portrayals of librarians do a real disservice. While, sadly, some people have encountered unfriendly librarians in real life, librarians are just people, like you, with special training in locating and accessing information. And most of us are quite friendly and helpful. Really!

Bad Librarians in Video

You shouldn't encounter this kind of librarian at the WSU Libraries.

And you may be relieved (or disappointed) to know that we do not make a practice of hiring wild animals as librarians.

Also, even though you've probably figured this out already, Parker Posey doesn't work in our libraries, either.

Real Comments About WSU Library Staff

Comments from the 2009 LibQUAL survey

"I have always had really good experiences when using the library. I have especially found the staff to be helpful and courteous."

"Excellent employees who are generally ready and willing to help and knowledgeable!"

"The library staff at every branch I have visited have been terrific! Across the board they are friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, and efficient."

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us