Misconception #1: You get to read books all day!
I have had to do this in the past, absolutely, but it's not as big a part of most library jobs as people believe. Children's Programmers, those who run storytimes, definitely have to do this to select the items they are going to read. Librarians mostly skim read to determine what items to maintain in the collection, otherwise they usually read book selection/review articles and magazines (nowhere near as fun, trust me). Occasionally we read to get an idea of items in the collection to better be able to recommend them to others, but this is usually on personal time, and for fun! I actually work with some people that don't read for enjoyment at all. These guys are usually movie buffs though!
Misconception #2: Everyone who works in a library is a student or a librarian.
Misconception #3: We're shy and quiet, and/or only like books and hate people.
Well, we're just like everyone else...some of us are introverted, and some of us are extroverted. For example, I'm not particularly tall, but I often would get used for crowd control for larger programs - small, but with a mighty, booming voice when necessary (thank you theatre training!). And the introverted staff are not always limited to reference or behind-the-scenes jobs. A couple of us in my department are introverted, but have our moments of extrovert-level energy. Programmers though, are very often extroverts...I think they might combust if they weren't, haha. We totally hate people though (I'm kidding!).
Misconception #4: Your tasks are basically limited to checking out books, answering phones, and stamping books.
Oh gosh, where do I even start with this one? Although I will be devoting another post to my own work, I feel like I have to cover this, because it's one of the biggest misconceptions I know of. Do I do these things? Absolutely! However I also am one of the main troubleshooters for our 3D printers. Yep. So, if you think everyone in a library does a stereotypical job...wow, you are mistaken. Library workers are best described as adaptable problem-solvers. As an information and resource centre, people want to know anything and everything from how to fill out passport documents, how to get financial aid, what items we have on computer coding (and if it's good for a beginner, intermediate, or expert level), what that blue book was we had on display last month was, what they checked out sometime in the past two years that was about a dog, etc. I also have to help you figure out how to format your computer documents, how to send an email to someone without having an email address yourself (yes, I actually did do this a few months ago), proofread publicity documents to ensure they fit within brand guidelines, policies, and accessibility standards, figure out how to hang displays from the ceiling that won't set off the alarm, and repair damaged books.
I know this barely scratches the surface, but it's a start! If there is anything I haven't covered, please let me know! I'd love to do some other posts about library life, and answer any of your questions. What are some common misconceptions you've had?