You wanted to be a librarian, but not a children’s librarian.
Initially, no. After finally realizing that I had to be a librarian, because I was ill-equipped to be anything else, I was going to be a conservator. The moment of truth came when my husband—who should be an archivist, because of the way he takes the covers off books, and is always like “don’t break the spine!”—he pointed out, “You put your coffee cup down on your book about how to preserve books.” I was like, “It’s a sign!”
It turns out, with my propensity for destroying books, I was perfect for children’s librarianship, where the books die instantaneously in the hands of very small people who tear them apart.
I’ve been grateful to children’s librarians when I’ve come in and admitted, “She kind of colored on this, I’m happy to pay for it,” and they’re like, “It’s cool.”
That’s why the the budget for children’s books is bigger than other budgets in the library. We understand the turnover rate is very high. If I had an unlimited supply of money I’d replace all the board books. Because they almost instantly go blehhhh with grossness.
Full interview recommended via Q&A: Betsy Bird, Kid Lit Star and New Evanston Librarian | Chicago magazine | Politics & City Life October 2015.