I became a public speaker by chance in 2013. As a self-employed person, one of the things I was doing was promoting senior entertainers in libraries and assisted living facilities. When an activities director wanted a health speaker instead of an entertainer, I said, “I can do that!” As someone with a great passion for health, I had enough knowledge to give a great speech and make some money! I did a wonderful job and have been speaking in libraries and assisted living facilities ever since.
Over the years, I’ve figured out that with all the speeches I gave, there were four that were most popular: “Healthy Pasta Alternatives,” “Eat Well for the Holidays,” “History of the Newspaper Industry” and “Going Going Gone: What the Next Generation Won’t Remember.”
It’s been a decade now that I’ve been working semi-steady giving these presentations in person (with the exception of the pandemic, where I worked over ZOOM).
Giving the lectures is the fun part. I meet so many great people and it’s super fun. I don’t have a fear of speaking in front of people. In fact, having an audience excites me!
But then the “work” part comes in–getting the bookings. I put in the time to make my own calls and put the bookings on my calendar. Some librarians are awesome and have invited me to their libraries more than once, presenting many of my lectures. We have awesome working relationships.
Others don’t get it, which is natural in any career. In fact, I always say if too many people “like” you, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.
But while a simple “not at this time” is sufficient, some librarians go out of their way to be snippy and condescending. I feel sad for them. It seems they believe that being a gate keeper or a puppeteer puts them in a high position. However, by saying “no” in a not so nice way gives them a false sense of control. Performers and presenters see right through that bad attitude. It’s apparent these librarians are not living their dreams like we are. It’s Psychology 101, people are always mean to those they want to be like.
I’ve discussed this with other presenters and performers. We had a good laugh about it. One of my favorite comments came from someone who said, “It’s no problem. I won’t miss a meal by not performing at that venue.”
It’s true. We’re doing this for a living and it’s no skin off our asses if a librarian says, “NO!” But why do they have to be SO ANGRY ABOUT IT?!?! LADY, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!!
One time I was trying to book a musician into a library and the librarian said, “I don’t like him.”
I said, “But the patrons did! Last time he performed here, he got a standing ovation.”
She repeated, “But I don’t like him.”
It’s not about you, dear librarian, it’s about the patron. If you don’t have your patrons best interest at heart, you shouldn’t be working as a librarian.
According to demographics, most librarians are over 40 which could explain their bad attitudes. They may be going through menopause or having romance problems, or having problems with their kids. Being a librarian isn’t a typical 9 to 5 job. They put in long hours and most of the time when I give an evening presentation, the librarians are in a hurry to rush out the door, so I can’t stay and chat with patrons who came to see me speak. Can we say “Party Poopers”?
Careers should be fun, and about lifting each other up. The gatekeeper mentality shows a librarian’s true colors, and puts her in the cliche of “angry librarian.” Does she really want to be known as such?
All that said, I’ve had some amazing experiences with many librarians over the years. Some I really look up to for their wisdom and awesome personalities. And some I can honestly call friends. Throughout my career I’ve had great times chatting with librarians about cats, music, and food. These librarians certainly don’t have the librarian stereotype. These librarians love their job and see the performers and presenters as equals — not a threat. And that’s how it should be. We are all professionals, so let’s behave like professionals.
If you liked this blog, feel free to buy me a kombucha: https://ko-fi.com/maryannechristianomistretta
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: email@example.com.
She is the author of the following books:
“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary
“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You
Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/
Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.
And for positive messages, visit Be YOUnique, the Anti-Bullying You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA/videos
Visit my business page, Pear Tree Enterprises, at: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/