Or at least that’s what the lovely Marilyn Brocklehurst told me on Thursday, after I’d revealed to a roomful of nice kids at Bishops Stortford College that it took me the greater part of twenty five years to settle on a career I liked.  I have to admit that being a librarian never occurred to me, though I enjoyed Marilyn’s confession that her parents cried when she told them of her career choice.

Librarians just don’t have a sexy reputation.  Which is a shame. Because a good number of the ones I’ve met have been opinionated, passionate and a little wild. (Ian Dodds, you know who you are.)

I became so enamoured of said profession after writing How I Live Now, that in all the early drafts of Just In Case, Agnes (Justin’s funky love interest) was a librarian.

Why didn’t she stay one?  I dunno — I must have chickened out, not knowing all that much about what library professionals do behind the scenes…..when they’re not organising literary festivals or trying to read every book ever published.

ANYWAY, back at Bishops Stortford, the kids were enjoying Rosie Pike’s first ever Literary Festival, which looked to me like a roaring success.  I particularly liked the parent who slunk up to me after our panel on Getting Kids To Read in a Digital Age, and whispered, “Thanks for saying that no one HAS to read.  I always feel so guilty.”

Now stop that right now.

If people are going to feel guilty about not reading, I’m going to have to feel guilty about not writing 10,000 words a day or doing the ironing.  Reading is starting to sound a little too much like eating our broccoli.


My suggestion  is to tell kids that they are NOT under any circumstances ALLOWED TO READ BOOKS, and see what happens.

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7 thoughts on ““You should have been a librarian…”

  1. Lynn Priestley 7 years ago

    Great post, Meg. So true – the best way to get anyone to do something is to tell them they can’t. Personally, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to read. What a privilege it is to be able to step into someone else’s fully formed world, leaving my own behind for a spell. Reading is a gift, not a chore like so many see it as being. It’s true, no one has to read – but my life is for more fulfilling when I do. And there are so many creative things you can do with broccoli these days…

  2. bookwitch 7 years ago

    But broccoli is one of the two greens she eats!

  3. Nicky S 7 years ago

    nothing like a bit of reverse psychology – is or are you just practicing headology…?

  4. Miriam Halahmy 7 years ago

    In those glasses you would have made a great librarian!

  5. Meg 7 years ago

    Witch — at least she eats two greens. And if I knew what headology was, I’d push my huge librarian-ish specs down to the end of my nose and agree….

  6. C 7 years ago

    Speaking of Just in Case … I’ve started re-reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and the epitaph on Conrad Aiken’s bench-headstone — “Cosmos Mariner: Destination Unknown” — reminded me a lot of Justin, so I thought I’d stop by here and spam your blog with it.

    1. Meg 7 years ago

      Thanks for that, C. I loved the book but don’t remember the headstone. Might steal it for my own epitaph someday…..

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