Recap of Common Myths

After several days of postings both on this blog and on the Libnet listserv, some consensus has emerged regarding the most prevalent myth about libraries.

Here’s a breakdown of the most common responses:

9     Libraries are no longer needed because everything is on the Internet (or the Web is equivalent to library databases)

6     Librarians do nothing but “read” and have read everything in their libraries

5    Everyone working in a library is a “librarian” (or you don’t need a degree to be a librarian)

4     Libraries are mostly about books

4     Libraries are “safe” places (or libraries are responsible for protecting kids)

3     All librarians are middle aged women with buns

3     Librarians know everything

3     Patrons are our bosses because they “pay our salaries”

2     Everything in a library is free

2    All librarians do is check books in and out

I originally posted the question as I was thinking about how to answer a question from our Foundation Director. While the responses above represent all types of libraries, I do agree that the top myth is very relevant to academic libraries in particular. So  much has been said about this that I’m not going to add anything here. But after I meet with the BOD, I will let you know their comments.

Thanks to all of you for your input.


What Students Think About Libraries

Thanks to everyone who contributed thoughts about the most commonly held myths regarding libraries. Some of them were really new to me and I think some of them really illustrate the differences between academic and public libraries. Others were more universal! I will summarize the postings on my blog as soon as I’m sure they’re all in!

While I think librarians have a good sense of the general public’s attitude towards libraries, some of their ideas may still surprise us. Here is a link to comments made by students at a university in New Zealand about the Library of 2017. I especially like the view that librarians will all wear foil and pointy hats! 🙂

On a more serious note, I’m sure most of you have already read this report from OCLC, which came out in 2005 ( But it is worth reviewing in the context of myths and misconceptions about the library. The number one “brand” that students associate with the library is still, by a large margin, “books”.

Top Myths About Libraries

I was asked an interesting question today by our Foundation Director. She would like to know what the top myth is about libraries. My first thought is that people still think the library is mainly about books. But, being as I work in a library every day, maybe I don’t know what myths other people may have. I would be very interested to see what the rest of you, both librarians and non-librarians, think about this. What would you say is the top myth people have about libraries?