It’s called Imposter Syndrome. The feeling that you’re not actually good at what you do, and you’re going to be found out. Even the most expert professionals can have this feeling, and librarians are no different. The key is to just smile and pretend to totally know what the heck is going on. Sometimes my time at the library feels like a string of conversations similar to these:
Child: “Who is the author of [insert super popular book I haven’t read but should totally know] ?
Me: Smiling so wide my ears touch at the back of my skull “Oh that’s one of the best books in the whole world! The author is..” frantic surreptitious googling “... Jones!”
Parent: Can you tell me where this [insert name of super popular library program I’ve never heard of but should totally know] program is?
Me: The person who nows that information is away from the desk… I’ll just stall.“That’s an excellent hat you’re wearing today. They will love that up at [said program]. You know, I think that you’re going to enjoy [said program] so much when you go. It’s so popular! And I’m going to tell you where it’s at… right…. now…
Teen: “The computer is broken.”
Me: I have a degree in literature¨ and it takes me 15 minutes to sign into Twitter. Big smile.“I’ll come turn that off and back on for you.”
Parent: “Can you recommend your favorite book for a 10-year-old boy who likes legos but hates baseball and I think liked Harry Potter and has read everything you could possibly recommend but he’s super picky so make sure there’s no girls in it unless they have red hair and a talking pet mouse and the boy needs to be 4’11” and and a technology genius no more than 12 years old unless he’s the apprentice to a pirate king.”
Me: I just read a cinderella knockoff about a 15-year-old girl… but it did have a talking mouse...
Child: “I read a book about dogs once.”
Me: “How wonderful!”
Child: “I want to read it again.”
Me: “I think you should.”
Child: “Where is it?”
Me: Ah. Now we come to the heart of the problem.
However, no matter the questions or confusion, the right programs get found and the right books get recommended. It’s not a seamless process, but I take it a day at a time.