Ask a Male Librarian


In libraries and archives, males are a persistent minority. Their lack of female socialized subservience gets them disproportionally promoted, and their quirky personalities are often the result of both entitlement and high rates of Asperger’s. Instead of giggling, we decided to consult one and get his take. We turned to real-deal male law librarian Brown Recluse Esq. , of the NBA blog Freedarko, who asked “This counts as professional development, right?”

My good friend and fellow librarian has a comb-over. Should I tell him it doesn’t look good, or would this make our time on the reference desk awkward?


Yes, telling him it doesn’t look good would lead to awkwardness. Look, no one wants to be told something they’re doing isn’t working. When a co-worker told me she didn’t like my eyeglass frames, I threw them in the trash that very night and haven’t worn glasses since. Sure, it makes things like driving more of a challenge, but no accidents so far (knock on wood)! But, seriously, the male ego is very fragile, especially in areas of perceived physical decline (like going bald). A more sensitive approach would be to tell him that you think he would look really good with closely cropped hair or whatever hair style you think would suit him better than the comb-over. Then, if he follows your advice, be sure to tell him how good his hair looks. Girls do stuff like this for their friends all the time, don’t they?

At my library, I am serving on a committee with two unattractive heterosexuals. They flirt constantly, which makes my stomach turn. How do I get them to cut it out?


Mimi, that’s quite a conundrum. What you probably want to say is “get a room already,” but that’s not really very professional or polite. Instead, your strategy should be to divide and conquer. Or, just divide, I guess. Pull one of them aside and engage her in conversation individually and separately from the other. Try to find out something about each of them, so you’ll have something to talk about. If the woman likes to knit (and don’t all female librarians knit?), ask her what she’s working on or where she buys her yarn, anything. Just keep them apart. It sucks to have to talk to an ugly person, but it’s better than the nerd mating rituals you’ve had to endure thus far.

UPDATE: Our library dude changed his mind about the second question, so we updated the answer, obvs.

Do you have a question that only a male librarian can answer? Are you a male librarian, eager to share yourself with the world? Write us at


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