People think that if you work in the library, you are a librarian. They think that librarians are intelligent and deserve respect. In many ways, they give them more respect than teachers.
They do not realize and are surprised to discover that to be a librarian you have to have a Master’s degree in library science. Just working in a library doesn’t mean you are a librarian.
Thus, they think merely working in a library is enough to indicate intelligence and command respect.
Thus, merely being around books makes you smart and respected. This seems to not apply to booksellers, though. Perhaps it is the number of nonfiction books to fiction that makes the difference. Perhaps it is because librarians help you for free, so their actions seem altruistic.
I don’t know. I’m running with it though, because it benefits me.
I spent a lot of years working retail, and honestly, the library is a lot like retail. I like it better, not just because people respect me more. I’m the same person whether I’m at Waldenbooks or the library, so it isn’t me, it is them.
I like working at the library because I can help people regardless of their ability to pay. I always felt a little guilty encouraging people to look at extra items when I worked in retail. There was always a little bit of tension there because of it. They’d sometimes say “Oh, you want me to get this so you’ll get a higher commission.” No, it is because it will benefit you. Or you need it.
Now there is no tension. They can have 100 books at a time.
In a related thought, people are now saying to me “Wow! I know a real author!” Being a writer isn’t enough. Publishing a book is what makes it real. Maybe this is part of working in the library. People respect books. Real, physical books. Just being around them, the magic rubs off on you.