I got into the topic of Libraries with a coworker and I mentioned how in my High School the Librarian had always worn these long (up to her elbows) white gloves. The rumor was that her hands were diseased and deformed but no one ever asked her about it. That’s when he told me the Librarian in his school also always wore gloves too. So now we are wondering if that is a Librarian “thing”. Maybe touching the old books etc. makes one decide to wear gloves or something. So I ask, did the librarians in your town wear gloves?
I worked four years as a student assistant in the large campus library at my undergraduate uni. And I’ve known other librarians. Never seen or heard of gloves.
I’ve worked in about five different libraries, never saw anyone wearing gloves.
Except one patron who wore serial killer gloves all the time…we called him Mr. Gloves.
I have never seen a librarian (school, university, public) wearing white gloves unless they were handling a very rare or very old book. My sister is a librarian at a community college. They don’t have any rare or old books, so she doesn’t wear gloves. When she worked at the Harvard Botany Library, she sometimes handled books that were several hundred years old. She wore gloves for that.
^ This. The only time I’ve ever seen a librarian wear gloves was when handling very old and/or rare or exceptionally valuable books.
On the other hand, I have known some people suffering from various skin disorders who wore gloves to protect their hands from inadvertent damage, or to help hold medication where it was needed, or some such. It is certainly possible to have a librarian who suffers from such things.
We had a Rare Book Room, but I don’t think the books in it were rare like you’d find in, say, the Harvard library. It did contain all the bound copies of Playboy magazine, because the patrons would steal them otherwise back in those pre-Internet-porn days.
I almost never wear gloves when I’m at work unless I’m up in special collections working with rare items, nor do I have any specific memories of my librarians while I was growing up wearing gloves.
That said, I have friends who are non-special collections librarians who sometimes wear gloves at work. Usually fingerless ones and this is typically because they’re cold and want something on their hands to help them stay warm.
Libraries, at least those that I’ve worked in, tend to have odd indoor climates. I worked in one once where in the summer I’d wear a hat and scarf because it was so cold in my workspace.
Not in any library I have ever been to.
A former employee worked in the legal department researching, preparing and filing easements, and she would get irritations and burns from the acid in the paper (especially the older papers), so she had to wear a pair of thin white cotton gloves.
This could be why…
Concur on gloves being worn when handling rare books.
I have also seen borderline-germophobe staff wear nitrile or similar gloves when handling book drop. You never know what you’re going to find in the book drop, so you don’t have to be neurotic to do so.
There might have been a good reason to wear gloves when handling bound copies of Playboy.
I worked for the Central Arkansas Library System, traveled between all the branches and never saw gloves.
One of the clerks at our main circulating hub wears nitrile gloves constantly, and we have a few people who wear those fingerless compression gloves that help with muscle strain and repetitive motion stress, but no long gloves in our system.
Although I do have a pair of antique buttoned gloves that I could wear… Hmmm.
This. Totally. Some libaries can get cold enough that your hands will actually start to ache or tingle after awhile. For some reason keeping the temperature well regulated doesn’t work out.
I’ve been working in libraries for close to 30 years, and have never worn gloves at work. I don’t recall ever seeing any library employee wear gloves except for a custodian, and I’ve been in a buttload of libraries in my time.
It sounds like it was coincidence after all…
And the very early copies were missing the naughty pictures, allegedly at the hands of some old-prude West Texas librarian.
Both of my parents are librarians, and I’ve never seen gloves anywhere.