I work in a low socio-economic area with lots of refugees and asylum seekers. I serve people who are struggling to adjust to a completely new way of life, a new language, and who may have come from quite upsetting and unsettling circumstances. I try my best to serve them, help them figure out what they need, maybe listen to their troubles and stories. Stay polite, stay switched on, stay friendly, listen attentively. Truth is, for the natural introvert (i.e. me), it's not just tiring, it's exhausting. I can be a professional extrovert just as long as I have time to refill my reserves with some nice quiet alone time. Now that I am working full time, my alone time is on the weekends and I am just not feeling up to catching up with anyone - not even friends. I did not expect this to be a side effect of librarianship!
There are many things that w'e're not taught in library school and this is an important one. Have you ever heard the old line "I became a Librarian because I like books, not people?". Well, turns out you need to like both. A LOT. If you don't think you're much of a people person, or if you're truly a full-time introvert, public library life is going to be tough for you and you might be better suited to academic library work or back of house technical duties. I am pretty outgoing and friendly most of the time, so I'm coping OK, but by the end of the week it's a struggle. I'm sure I will get used to it, or at least figure out some good strategies to not make it so tiring, but I am surprised at how much it has affected life outside work. Something to definitely keep in mind if you're just starting out in your career, or think of next time you speak to that lovely, attentive, thoughtful and switched on Librarian that just served you!