A Word of Advice for Those Entering The Library Profession by Corey Farrenkopf

You’ll find there is nothing more terrifying than feeling Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown in the bookdrop. The cover’s cutaway allows a tuft of hair to protrude from within. Your fingers will graze the animal hide and your mind will go to what animals could be dead inside the covered box. Mouse? Squirrel? Ermine? River Otter? Beaver? You’ll recoil, stare at your hand as if you’re Lady Macbeth and something has irrevocably stained your palm. Is there a smell? Shouldn’t there be a smell if something’s decaying in the heap of books? You’ll sniff. You’ll be confused. Then you’ll remove the spring-loaded cart, only to realize someone in the design department at Harpers is an asshole who doesn’t consider the aged hearts of librarians. I’ve lost two coworkers to Little Fur Family. Google it. The leading cause of death in our profession is the sudden shock of the soft pelt where no soft pelt should be. Too many obituaries contain the cursed book. Too many lives have been lost in the service of tactile education. When Miss Agatha, your childhood librarian, has her viewing hour at Doan, Beal, and Ames, you’ll know what landed her in that coffin.

You’re young and have been warned, but someday, you too will be the same age as Miss Agatha and Little Fur Family will still be in print.

It is a classic.

It is eternal.

Little Fur Family comes for us all.

You are no exception.


Corey Farrenkopf lives on Cape Cod with his wife, Gabrielle, and works as a librarian. He is the fiction editor for The Cape Cod Poetry Review. His work has been published in The Southwest Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Uncharted, Wigleaf, The Florida Review, Tiny Nightmares, and elsewhere. To learn more, follow him on twitter @CoreyFarrenkopf or on the web at CoreyFarrenkopf.com