Shhh! Quiet In The Library, The Books Are Sleeping

Libby Marshall
Published in
4 min readMar 13, 2020


Photo by Danny on Unsplash

You must be the new librarian. It’s such a relief you’re here. We’ve gone through seven librarians in the last six months. They all say the Cumberland Public Library is different than any other library they’ve worked at. Sure, we have a few extra rules, but nothing… Oh no, I’m being too loud. The books are waking up. Quick, get behind the reference desk.

It’s crucial to maintain quiet in the library when the books are sleeping. Have you ever seen a 1994 paperback edition of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle angry after being rudely awakened by a woman asking if the library has Jenga? Me neither. And I want to keep it that way.

Most people think libraries are quiet to allow patrons to focus, but it’s really so the books can get some rest. Do you have any idea how tiring it is to be a book? You’re opened at all hours of the night at the reader’s whim. You’re jammed in backpacks, left on trains, chewed on by dogs and babies. And when you’re finally returned to the library to rest, all you want is peace, quiet, and someone to dust your spine once in a while.

You look confused. Didn’t they teach you this in library school?

See, if we don’t allow the books to rest, plots can get confused. I finally had to pull our copy of Gone Girl from the shelves. After being constantly checked out for three…