Red Lips

How is this relevant to libraries? Librarians have great style. And I bet Bat Girl wore red lipstick sometimes.


I bought my first red lipstick when I was 14. A terrible clown shade from a Covergirl line of lip products, the kind with the colour on one side and a disconcerting clear wax on the other that was supposed to “seal” the colour when applied over top. Red lipstick looked so effortless and perfect on other women!  It wasn’t until my early 20s that I realized, “Oh, they all went to a MAC counter at one point.” Sephora could as easily be swapped into that statement.

Now you are worried, thinking $$$! I’m all about going cheap when it comes to trendy and innocuous items but red lipstick is such a classic, minimalist yet bold statement, it should be high-quality. Red lips are forever fashionable, to the point where it’s completely redundant that every single fashion season expounds that red lips are “in” and so it’s not like the cobalt blue eyeshadow that will sit in your makeup bag forever.

Bonuses to Paying More Money 

You get to try the lipstick on in the store.

Unless you are 13 and spend all of your time in the cosmetics aisle of the grocery store with your friends and are too scared to steal anything but terrible enough to open products and try them on in the store, you don’t get to do this with cheap lipsticks. Also, doing this did not stop me from buying that awful Covergirl red lipstick.

You are paying for the staff’s expertise and knowledge.

One time I walked into a MAC store and a sales lady came up to me and said, “try this on” and it was a beautiful bright red lipstick that looked perfect with my outfit and complexion. That is how talented MAC and Sephora people are!

Sephora = Samples

I believe you can get up to three at one time. So at least try out the good stuff because it’s free.

You can return the lipstick for store credit if you decide you really don’t like it.

Sephora’s crazy return policy means if you realize you don’t like the lipstick, you can get at least get store credit for what you bought, even if it’s used. Same with MAC.

If you’re not convinced.

If you really don’t want to pay more than $6, though, Buzzfeed recommends Wet ‘n’ Wild and Milani brand lipsticks (the latter of which I think may not be available in Canada).

The Process of Trying On

When you begin your journey to find a red lipstick, take Jane from The Hairpin’s advice and make sure you feel good that day. Don’t go hungover in your stretchy pants because you look terrible, and no matter how fabulous the lipstick you try on is, you will still look terrible.

Keep your face simple when you try on/wear a red lipstick too. It’s like the boobs/legs thing with dresses. Just show off one! Not both. What kind of hussy are you? I mostly wear a red lipstick on my face along with some blush, a cat eye, and a neutral eye shadow. I also like to wear red lipstick on days that I don’t wear eyeliner. When you do this, it is kind of satisfying to know that people think you are being super fancy and put a lot of effort into your appearance, but you really didn’t at all. Then all of a sudden you have become one of those women I mentioned earlier!

On to shades, because this is the fun part. There are blue-toned and orangey-toned red lipsticks. I tend to prefer orangey reds since I have a “warmer” complexion but I have both in my collection. My collection is also pretty MAC biased but that’s mostly a reflection of how recently Sephora opened in Vancouver and how long MAC lipsticks last for.


From left to right: Bite Pomegranate, MAC Ruby Woo, MAC Lady Danger, MAC Korean Candy, MAC Vegas Volt, Stila Fior. I am impressed at how non-gross these all look considering that I have had some of them for years.

Most Popular Red Lipstick Ever

Ruby Woo

MAC Ruby Woo. As I said, I tend to like orange-toned reds but that just speaks to how universal this blue-toned shade of lipstick is. It’s the best-selling of all time, with a nice matte finish.


A very similar lipstick is sold by Bite, which is a new small Canadian company that’s sold at Sephora. This shade is called Pomegranate. I couldn’t even tell the difference when I was sorting the photos. Maybe the photos are both of Pomegranate, or both of Ruby Woo, or mixed up. Who knows! They are both great and I wouldn’t particularly recommend one above the other, but I do like supporting a Canadian company.

Best Red Lipstick for Intimidated People


MAC sheer crème in Korean Candy. This is the red lipstick the lady at the MAC store made me try on. I think it’d be good for first-time people because it’s sheer, so you get the look of a bright red lip with a bit of softness. If you don’t like the orangey tone of this shade, there are others in this line!

Best Alternative to Red Lipstick


MAC Vegas Volt. Reportedly the lipstick that January Jones wore as Betty Draper for the first two seasons of Mad Men. It’s really a coral lipstick but it has the same vintage feel to it as a red lipstick.


Personal Favourite

Lady Danger

MAC Lady Danger. This is my holy grail of red lipsticks. I told the MAC staff I wanted a vintage Bond girl red lipstick and this is what they picked out.

Bright Lipsticks in General


Stila Fior. I just wanted to say that the guidelines of red lipstick apply to all bright lipsticks. And at this point I wanted to show you my versatility as a model.

Application Tips

Once you’ve found your red lipstick, there are some application tips to keep in mind, which may or may not only be applicable to people like me who are addicted to lip balm.

Make sure your lips are moisturized! Put a bit of lip balm on then run a wet washcloth over top of them to get rid of any flaky bits or else you will just be highlighting how incredibly dry your lips are. If your lips are cracked or super chapped, common sense says you should forgo any lipstick and only wear Blistex.

Don’t bother with a lip liner unless you’re over 45 or a smoker. Some people also like a lip brush but why?

Put on your red lipstick! I apply it directly and just use my finger to wipe off any smudges that have gone beyond my lip line. I also do the thumb trick to make sure it won’t get on my teeth. This involves putting your thumb in your mouth and forming a tight seal around it with your lips, then pulling your thumb out.

This part is kind of icky, but important. After I eat lunch, I wipe off the remains of my red lipstick and repeat the lip balm/wet wash cloth morning routine. Except usually I’m at work so I replace the washcloth with a scratchy paper towel, which works just as well! No matter how moisturizing a lipstick is, and no matter how much lip balm I put on underneath or over top, it is inevitable that by the afternoon, my lips will be chapped. If I skip this process, my lips become flaky. Ew.

It may sound like a lot of work but it really only takes a minute. And maybe your lips have a perfect PH and you simply have to apply the lipstick and go, and you are thinking, “what is up with this gross chapped lip lady?” and I say, good for you!

One last tip for all: wipe the lipstick off of your cups before putting them in the dishwasher at work/home (if you should be so lucky). You will avoid adding to the passive aggressive dishes fight you already have going on with your co-workers/boyfriend/girlfriend/room mate(s).


Picture of a Cat wearing red lipstick.


Tips for Library School Students

Work Experience

Get as much work experience as you can! I would put ten more exclamation points if it would actually help emphasize how important this is. Everybody is graduating with the same degree and there are way more librarians than there are jobs and so work experience is the best way to make yourself stand out. There are generally a lot of good opportunities to get student librarian jobs during your MLIS. Even if cataloguing and digitizing a collection of croquet images doesn’t sound AMAZING* to you, go for it! You never know what skills you might pick up or realize you enjoy. All library work experience is good experience.

I learned more from my work experience during my MLIS than I did from the class work. The jobs I had solidified that I truly enjoy the work librarians do and helped me realize what sort of library work I wasn’t interested in, which is equally important. It totally astounds me when people graduate with an MLIS having no experience actually working in a library environment. How do you know you even like it?

Classes & Grades

Future employers will not care about your grades or which classes you took. This is true of my job hunting experience. I think I’ve only heard of it coming up once or twice among the librarians I know.

Asking Librarians Questions

When you contact a librarian to ask them questions about their work/workplace, think about what you’re asking. Have you looked for this information yourself, already? You are asking a busy working person for their time and they may be annoyed and wonder how you got into library school if you’ve asked them for something that is easily findable (ie. What is the library’s borrowing policy?). Ask a reasonable number (in most cases, no more than 5) of thoughtful questions that you cannot find the answer to yourself. Also, do not ask personal questions about topics such as salary and benefits. If you want to know that information, look at a job posting site. That said, librarians are generally very nice and happy to answer questions, we are in the business of helping people, after all.

Be Nice to Your Classmates

The librarian community is small and these will be your future coworkers and employers. If you are in library school, you are probably a nice person already, though.

On a social level, I met some of my closest gal pals in library school and still regularly hang out with my former classmates.

Conferences & Associations

I did not go to any conferences or join any associations during my MLIS and it did not affect me negatively during my job hunt. That is not to say that these don’t provide valuable experiences, I just wouldn’t worry about it too much or prioritize it over work experience. I know a couple of librarians who have gotten jobs from joining an association and getting to know professionals already working within that area. But I didn’t have a specific area of librarianship that I was interested in above all else. If you have a specific interest, it may be worth your while to look into events and opportunities to connect with that community.

As a professional, I now go to conferences and am a member of various associations relevant to my work.

Keep Busy With Other Skills

Library school students are busy. But keep other interests and pick up some other skills. There are a surprising number of skills that are applicable to library work. I wrote for a friend’s arts & culture magazine while I was in school, which led to eventually being the editor of the magazine’s website and to paid freelance writing gigs. In my current work, I write articles and information resources for our website, write scripts for video tutorials, and help my coworkers edit their resources.

Having non-library skills that are still relevant to libraries makes you stand out in the job hunt.

Job Hunting Post-Grad

This is hard for all professions right now. You may have to apply over 100 times before you get a job (apply for absolutely everything). It may take you a year or more to get a job as a librarian. You may have to move. You may have to consider working in an environment you never thought of or pictured yourself in before.

If you have a period of unemployment after graduating, keep busy with related work.

  • If it is library-related: Doesn’t matter if it’s paid or unpaid. I kept up my freelance writing gigs, which was nice because it was library-related and paid. But I also kept my volunteer job as an audio narrator at a library that served students, faculty, and staff with print disabilities. For two hours a week, I would record myself narrating a required text. It was interesting, relevant, and weirdly meditative. And it gave me a skill that comes very much in handy for my job now: recording my voice for video tutorials.

Be Up on Your Animal Memes

Don’t question me.


*It did sound amazing to me, and I did it for my entire degree.

Cat Eyes

Cat eyes are probably not universally applicable to all librarians (dudes aside). Lots of librarians I know don’t wear cat eyes, or even wear makeup at all. But then a lot of libarians do, and so does Bat Girl, aka coolest librarian of all time.


Now where do I get the audacity to tell you how to do a cat eye? My coworkers once asked me if my eyeliner is tattooed, which I took as a very fine compliment.

Gal pals also frequently ask me how to do a cat eye, and all good librarians know that when you get asked a question a lot, it is time to make a subject guide so you can direct people to a ready-made, thoughtful resource, rather than typing/explaining scattered instructions over and over again.

To start – which eyeliner to pick! For a cat eye, my preference is liquid liner. Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner is my favourite because it is shaped like a felt-tip marker so that even my clumsy hands can draw a decent line. It seems to dry out quickly, but if you dip it in a little water, it’ll be good to go again. I like this Loreal one too and Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Liner is also supposed to be excellent.

There are really just 3 steps to this process:

  1. Draw the liner as close to your lash line as possible.
  2. Then comes the hard part, which I think The Beauty Department sums up best (who knew that Lauren Conrad is actually useful? Meow!): Imagine a line from the outside corner to the end of your brow, that becomes the angle for the wing. With light brush strokes, slowly draw the wing at that angle.
  3. Then I like to thicken the line from the middle of my eye to the top of the wing, so it almost looks like a stretched out triangle.

Optional Part 04: If your line is a little shaky, clean up around the edges with a wet q-tip.

And voila!


(Storm Troopers also like cat eyes)


Honestly, it takes a lot of practice. I’ve been doing this for years and still don’t get it right about 1 out of every 10 times and end up looking like this:


Still cute, though, right?

I usually curl my lashes and then put the eyeliner on so that if I mess up, I can wipe off the liner and start it again without mucking up the rest of my makeup. Also, if I’m not wearing a cat eye on a work day, it is usually an indicator that I was running late that morning.

Fellow librarian, Sara, whom I consider to be the ultimate makeup expert, finds it helpful to draw the line with an eye pencil first and then go over it with liquid eyeliner. She is so skilled, that when she broke her right arm, she taught herself how to do perfect cat eyes with her lefthand!

If you want a real fancy going out on the town tigress cat eye, use this tape tip from Jane Marie of The Hairpin.

*Edit. Pal to librarians, Cara, brought my attention to this amazing spoon trick video.

And if you want to be the fanciest ever, you can do what is known as tight-lining or the no liner liner, explained here, along with the cat eye. But you’ll need an eye pencil or gel liner and a whole lotta bravery for that.

The Beauty Department has some more handy cat eye tips and also links to this eyeliner chart for inspiration. Everything from Audrey Hepburn to freaky futuristic drag queen!:


And if anyone is interested, the other makeup I’m wearing in those photos is Tarte Maracuja concealer in Light, Mac Pro Longwear Blush in Rosy Outlook, Geisha Mascara, random pale blue and ivory eyeshadows in my collection, and a random brown eyeshadow I use to fill in my eyebrows.

Great, now you all know how much I spend on my makeup. DON’T JUDGE.


Librarians don’t know everything. But sometimes, we are so good at finding things, we get confused and believe ourselves to be the all-knowing wizards of the world. Not to worry, even the best librarians falter because most of us are working within subject areas we have no background in, or are working within a multidisciplinary library.

For example, I currently work at a law library and the bulk of my days are spent helping people find legal information. This confuses a lot of people because I do this without having a background in law. There was definitely a learning curve, but I’m able to do it because librarians are trained to know which resources are the best for which kinds of information and  we do inadvertently learn about the subjects we’re immersed in every day.

How this works:

A lawyer comes in and says: I’m looking for a precedent of a Pierringer Release.

I start typing and calmly say with a smile:  I’m just going to take a look in our online catalogue and see what I come up with.

If he were to actually look at my face, for a split second, he would see this:


But within that second, I have used Google and found the Wikipedia on Pierringer Releases and I realize all it is, is a settlement agreement, and I know the best method of finding this is to do a quick search of our catalogue to find a book that contains precedents (example forms) of settlement agreements, and I take him to that book in the stacks, and voila, we have found a precedent for a Pierringer Release.

Before I even get a chance to put in my order for a pointed hat with stars and moons, I have a situation like this one, in which I was helping a student research for their paper at my other job, where I am a virtual reference librarian for post-secondary schools.

Student: Hello, I’m having some trouble with my research on Staples Economy.

Me: Oh okay! So you’re trying to research Staples as in the store?

Student: No…

I quickly Google “Staples Economy” only to discover that it is a theory of Canadian economic development.

It is not so bad, though. These instances often put people at ease and lead into a bonding moment about the general difficulties involved in research, especially because many people feel uncertain or hesitant about asking for a librarian’s help. Sometimes this doesn’t happen, and the patron calls you a dumdum but that is just life.

Depending on the situation, you can score extra humble points by asking the patron to tell you a bit more about the subject they’re researching. Most are happy to do this and you generally have to ask your patron a bunch of questions anyways as part of your reference interview.

Librarians don’t know everything. We just know where everything is. And might have to Google before we can get from A to B.