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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Are librarians boring?

I don’t think so, but apparently others may. Even one of my favorite adult mystery writers – Diane Mott Davidson – let me down recently with her portrayal of a public librarian in Sweet Revenge.

I discovered a copy on sale last weekend and couldn’t wait to curl up to read, savor recipes, dream of exotic caterings, and discover what quirky behavior occurs in Aspen Meadow to my favorite caterer Goldy Schulz . Ack!

The public librarian in this book is pathetic. At one point she reaches into her sweater pocket for tissues and sobs, "I feel as if everything is bearing down on me. I’m not married, no kids, not even a pet. I have nobody to talk to." Later in the book she thanks someone for giving her "real" library work to do. 

Despite the fact that it appears she manages an extremely active building with lots of circulation and community members researching, she feels unfulfilled and in such need of excitement that she attempts downhill skiing (with disastrous results). Her character never really changes and we are left with the sense that she is lonely and unsatisfied. 

I have decided there need to be some changes in that public library. What they need in Aspen Meadow is an active teen program with Gaming in the Library, a teen room, teen book clubs, maybe even a coffee shop. Since teens seem to get in trouble so often in Apsen Meadow, they must need another place to go. I suggest that Diane Mott Davidson needs to add a hib new teen librarian to her next title and redeem the existing librarian for all of us. Hello, Colorado librarians, could you please go meet with Davidson in Evergreen and show her we are not boring or pathetic?

That said, I looked around at my situation Saturday afternoon. My son was working, dogs were exercised out, cats were contentedly romping, and I needed to decide what to do with my evening. I could stay home to read and write on the blog (I have a stack of books that needs finishing ASAP). I could watch DVD’s I rented with my free redbox coupon – IronMan or MamaMia!, I could do laundry and clean the house (hahaha. that’s a good one!)…. or maybe I could go downtown to the Nashville Art Crawl. 

Despite my posting on Facebook no one took me up on my invitation to "go with". I decided to break the shackles of my shyness and venture out by myself on a Saturday evening. I cleaned myself up, put on make-up, collected by digital camera, and set out for an adventure. I truly wanted to experience ART so why not take advantage of all the art galleries staying open from 6-9 pm on the first Saturday of each month? They offer free snacks and beverages and even have a free shuttle to drop people at the more remote galleries. You can find parking on the street or even in the library parking garage for only $4. Yes, readers, I prefer the library parking in the heart of downtown Nashville.

Turns out the Nashville ART Crawl was THE place to be last night. There were so many people out that some galleries had lines waiting to squeeze in the doors. The sidewalks and corridors were full of people discussing art. Artists were available and answered lots of questions. Everyone was having fun. I saw lots of couples, lots of friend groups, and many other single people like me wandering. 

The only problem I have is the wardrobe. I watched clothing on this mid-70 temp evening and decided that I need to invest in a few non-librarian AKA non-practical articles of clothing. If you can’t teach in it or run after children in it, it’s not in my closet. Time for shopping. 

It seems I need some sparkly clothes, some casual artsy clothes, and maybe even something more exciting that a tank & jacket combination. Next month I’ll do better so no one comes up to me and says, "Aren’t you the librarian at….?"  Turns out they were parents of students of mine from 9 years ago, but still…! Perhaps I’ll dig out those stilettos.

 Back to the books: Dying for Chocolate by Davidson remains one of my favorites and I’ll continue savoring my coffee and recipes from Double Shot, but Sweet Revenge has gone into the pile of books that irk me for their portrayal of librarians. I also had problems with the main character’s extreme irrational behavior in borrowing other people’s cars to go chase after the criminals. The practical librarian in me rebelled at the inefficiency and illogical behavior. 

Oh, no! That makes me sound like Mr. Spock. Maybe I am boring after all?


  1. Paula Chase Hyman says:

    I wonder if profession feels fiction does them justice in portrayals. In movies, writers always seem to live the most glamorous life with hardly any time spent writing or – like most of us, angsting over writing! In books, writers tend to be a bit more grounded, but Hollywood has it all twisted. I wish my life was anything like a writer out of a film.

  2. Caterwaul says:

    I think those stereotypes still exist because there really are still Librarians out there who are like that. Try as we might, we haven’t all been able to adapt to “the new, hip librarian” image. The poor dears have some changing left to do, and it’s hard for them.