CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THIS WEATHER?! Although summer doesn’t TECHNICALLY end until next week, I feel like the pumpkin spice-infused breeze is enough to shift my mindset away from summer and into full-on basic-as-hell fall. As such, it’s time to start getting reacquainted with the cozy places, one of which being your friendly neighborhood library! (Remember those?) To re-familiarize you with the joys of bibliophilia, we’ve got Mr. Nik Dragovic (hot librarian extraordinaire) on the digital line to answer a few questions regarding ye olde stacks:
Photo by Kyle Cassidy
Name: Nik Dragovic
Where You Work: New York University, soon to be Emory University
Have you always wanted to be a librarian? And if not, how did you eventually come to realize that this was what you wanted to do?
Nope. I became interested in libraries when I started doing thesis research toward the end of undergrad. When I discovered that some people make a living by collecting and sorting punk stuff for research consumption in special collections and archives, I became really intrigued. But the massive trophy my school librarian awarded me at fifth grade graduation is symbolic, and makes a better story.
What does an average day at work look like for you?
Right now, I sit at a reference desk all day with a bright smile on my face, just waiting for people to ask me questions! They typically range from stapler needs to advice on how to conduct a real estate market analysis. Otherwise, I spend a decent amount of time wrangling the books that remain in our stacks, or checking in fresh newspapers and getting rid of the old ones.
Is there a dress code when you’re a librarian?
Not in my experience, but I guess it depends on where you work. I’ve gotten away with things in the academic environment that probably wouldn’t fly at a law firm. But some librarians are pretty invested in their lewks. Check out Librarian Wardrobe to see what I mean.
What is the most common misconception about your job?
That I’m smart!
If you were in charge of overdue book punishments, what kinds of consequences could we expect to see?
For every day late, a point of whatever standardized test you’re lined up to take for graduate school.
What’s the weirdest and/or most scandalous thing that’s happened to you (or your coworkers) when you were on the clock?
I probably shouldn’t even bring it up, but I’ve had someone in the building who was fond of trying to gift me booze. That was actually a stressful and confusing situation to navigate. Boundaries!
When is the last time (if ever) that you SHHHH’d someone at the library?
This happens all of the time, and depending on my mood, it can actually be fun.
The library at my college was said to be haunted (which could have been fueled by all-nighter hallucinations, but who’s to say?), which makes me feel like all libraries are haunted. Do you 1. believe in ghosts in the first place, and if so, 2. is your library haunted? (And/or are there any NYC libraries that are rumored to be haunted?)
No I don’t believe in ghosts, and I also work in a tiny library that started in the 80s. Not the most compelling haunt; probably only for lame ghosts.
If you could delete one book genre and/or author’s work from existence, which would it be?
I’d probably get chased back to library school by the collective field if I didn’t proclaim the ultimate importance of intellectual freedom. Not to say that there wouldn’t be plenty of fuel for the bonfire if the world were a bit more Orwellian.
What is the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
It was actually a comic, Worst Behavior by Simon Hanselmann. It’s hot off the press, and I’d definitely recommend it. But only if your sense of humor is as depraved as mine.
And what are some classic must-reads, in your opinion?
I’m gonna bunt and say Moby-Dick.
Do you have a favorite NYC bookstore(s) (and if so, what is it/are they), or are you all about racking up miles on your library card?
I much prefer looking things up in the catalog and borrowing where I can. Plenty of libraries will let you keep a book for months! And some of them are really expensive. It probably helps that I rarely seek new releases.
John Waters says you shouldn’t fuck someone if they don’t have books at home. What (in your opinion) is a book that someone might have at home that would make them equally as unfuckable as having no books at all?
I don’t know, anything by Ayn Rand? That’s a lazy answer.
Finally, if you had to play a librarian edition of tennis doubles and had to choose between Giles (from Buffy, obvi) and Tammy Two (from Parks & Rec, double obvi) as your partner, who would you pick?
I don’t know these fictional librarians. I’d pick a real one and bring Samuel Steward back from the grave.