Evidence from my library suggests that degrees more useful to public librarianship than an MLS include:
1. Social work
3. Any sort of B.S. class in assertiveness or dealing with difficult people
4. A long conversation with a group of slacker high school students
Consider the following examples from just today.
A friend of mine told me they are contemplating cutting off the Shopping Lady. This is a woman who started calling the library within the last couple of weeks. She wants locations and other information about different businesses, and it is never just one--always at least three. We think she lives in the major city of which our suburb is an appendage. Whenever you refuse to keep helping her (for example if an actual city resident is actually standing there in the actual library waiting for help) she demands to speak to a supervisor, and if you put her on hold she hangs up and calls back. The boss of our library, who I don't think knows my name, is on first-name terms with this woman. Also, apparently someone made an agreement with her that she could have up to three questions per incident. My boss was later observed arguing with her about how many she had used up.
Someone vomited in the program room. Someone else then let the first someone use the taped-off public bathroom, which is taped off because it is under construction.
Two high school students need "creative nonfiction." When I ask them, can you tell me anything more about that, they say, no. Their only criteria is that there be two copies at our branch, because they need the books for school tomorrow. The secondary criteria is that the chosen piece of creative nonfiction be "kinda short." I got them Teacher Man by Frank McCreary. Too bad I will never know whether it was the kind of thing the teacher wanted.
A woman called from inside the library to complain that another man was disturbing her by talking too loudly on his cell phone. She did not identify herself, and when I went over to the teen area, where she said they were, it was silent.