Librarian by day

Photo, Crystal Jordan, Image provided by author

Crystal Jordan on the pros and cons of being both a librarian and an author.

As the title of this post probably tells you, I’m a librarian for my day job. I don’t normally wear my hair in a bun, but I do sport a pair of glasses and have been known to shush people while at the reference desk. More than that, I’ve got the cute, curly blonde thing going for me, so when people look at me, their first thought isn’t “author of sexy romances.” In fact, when people do find out I write romance, they tend to guess I write at the milder, sweeter end of the genre. Of course, those who know me better can tell you I have a sarcastic streak a mile wide and a tendency toward making up my own compound swear words. I won’t go into details on that one, but I’m sure you can use your imagination.

I’m not sure what people expect to see when they think about authors like me. A bustier and stilettos instead of a silk peignoir and chocolate bonbons? The reality is so much less exciting, I’m afraid. I spend most of my days in front of a computer, either answering reference questions from the students and faculty at my university or writing my latest story. Occasionally, you can find me in a classroom teaching students how to find scholarly articles for their research papers. Thrilling, I know.

I do have to say that having mad research skills has definitely helped when it comes to my writing. If I need to know something, I usually have a pretty good idea where to find it. Or I know who to ask one of my colleagues who specialize in researching history, literature, sports, culture, art, etc. Plus, I work in a library. The world of information—even the kind of information that publishers make you pay to look at—is basically at my fingertips any time I need it. For free. A definite job perk.

My colleagues at the library do know what I write, so they understand what’s going on if I occasionally knock on their door and say, “I’m writing this story and I need to find out about X, but I’m stumped. Can you help?” A few of my fellow librarians have even read my work, which was a little weird at first. Some wanted to read my stories just because they knew the author, and I had to assure them I didn’t expect that. If they enjoyed romance novels, go for it, but otherwise. . . it was okay to skip my books. Apparently, knowing me and reading my work actually got one of the librarians into reading romance. She claims I was her gateway drug, which always makes me laugh.

It’s not unusual for people to ask if I ever intend to quit being a librarian and write full time. “Maybe when I retire” is the only answer I have for that. I like being a librarian and a writer. In the end, I enjoy both sides of my work too much to walk away. Of course, there are frustrating days where I’d love to quit one or the other (sometimes both, on a really bad day) and try something totally different.

Maybe an astronaut?

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