(Photo: Daughter Number Three.blogspot.com.)

We may be a group of mild-mannered, middle-aged women, but when we enter the bar, we strike fear in the hearts of everyone there. We’re Team Librarian—four librarians and a couple of ringers—and we’re here to kick your ass.

You usually don’t expect  trouble from librarians. Nobody ever says,  “She’s got a Masters degree in Library Science—watch out!”

Except in the local bars that host trivia games, where we wipe the floor with you.

Trivia games come with different rules and point systems, but they’re all designed to extract that precious bit of useless knowledge stored in the back of your brain. The game host asks a question (“In the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip, what did Charlie Brown’s dad do for a living?” or “Where do the cops hang out in the Bangles song ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’?”), and the competing teams have the length of a song to come up with their best guess, scribble it down and turn it in. (The answers, by the way, are  “a barber” and “in the donut shop.”)

If you can’t remember the names of your cousin’s kids and have to run around like crazy before every family wedding trying to find them out, you’re normal. If, however, you can recall the names of Sarah Palin’s kids—Bristol, Willow, Piper, Track and Trig—at the drop of a hat, then you’re ready for pub trivia. (Maybe even for library school.)

The best part of pub trivia is the joy of groupthink. Even team leader Marjorie, who once won $15,000 on Jeopardy, couldn’t answer all the questions herself. But when you add in reference librarian Maria, circulation assistants Roz and Trina, and history professor Janet, our favorite ringer, watch out! What could be more fun for a gang of librarians and like-minded pals than putting our heads together to answer a question like “Which state capitals abut salt water?” (If you don’t know that one, call or visit your local library—we aren’t giving out all the answers.)

Sometimes being “of a certain age” is an advantage. “Mr. Green Jeans is the sidekick of what children’s television show character?” We knew it was Captain Kangaroo in a nanosecond; the youngsters in the bar came up with answers ranging from Roy Rogers to Sponge Bob. (Oh, please!)

At other times, though, we need some youthful expertise. Questions about Lady Gaga lyrics or video gaming, for instance, are tough. Not to mention the challenge that questions about football stats and the nicknames of baseball pitchers pose for a group of bookish gals. (Don’t even get us started on NASCAR.) So we’ll recruit  a “youngster” (for us, that’s under 30) for the team, as well as a guy who has spent decades on the couch watching televised sports. (That’s most of them.) Thus augmented, we’re unbeatable. Grown men quiver with fear when we take our seats at the local pub-trivia hot spot.

We won’t give you a full description of our team. Suffice to say, like Miss America contestants, we’re all lovely and talented. (And we know the year the pageant began: 1921.) Nor will we give you tips about how to avoid paying for your overdue books. (Grow up! Pay the dang fine!) But we’ll give you some winning advice.

First, every fact matters. When you read that Jack Kerouac typed at the speed of 100 words a minute, don’t just think, “That’s some fast typing.” Think: “I’ll remember that.  Forever.” Second, no showing off outside the bar. When friends describe their upcoming European vacation, don’t respond, “Did you know there are only two kinds of Europeans whose identity ends with ‘ese’—the Maltese and the Portuguese?” It is, however, acceptable to shine just a bit. If a friend mentions that she wants to plant moss around the pond, you may ask, “Have you consulted a bryologist?”

Although at times we amaze even ourselves with the factoids we pull from the backs of our brains, Team Librarian doesn’t know everything. We once missed the number of bones in the human body, even though we had  two doctors on the team. (They redeemed themselves by getting the Lady Gaga question right.) Still, when the night ends, we usually have more points than the other teams. We pay the bar tab with our winnings, tip generously, and walk out with a swagger.

True or false: They teach swaggering in library school.

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  • Stephanie December 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm


    Great essay! Librarians are the best! Now I want to join a Trivial Pursuit team! Or Pictionary! No one ever wants to play Pictionary!!!

  • JENNIFER December 19, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Love this too. I was always so scared of librarians, even when I worked in one. I think librarians always got a bad wrap. So you go girl.

  • roz warren December 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    We haven’t got cheerleaders. Yet. Maybe that’s what comes next?

  • S. Bewkes December 17, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Too funny – don’t think I’d want to go up against this team!!

  • drpatallen December 17, 2010 at 7:18 am

    I just love this essay. I can imagine the scene and certainly the swagger! Do you guys have cheerleaders? Would be especially fun to be cheering for those who love books.

  • Kathy Wilder December 17, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Looking for like minded people and found your article. Had a good laugh. I was always kinda scared of Librarians…right up there with cops and nuns. Now I could fit right in. lol Thanks.