The Librarians

I watched the two hour debut episode knowing I would love it. After all, I loved the three movies and Warehouse 13, to which this bears a huge resemblance. And I am a librarian so when one of the ads says: “Reading is fundamental. Zombies are slow so go for the head. Think like a librarian; it may save your life,” I knew this was the show for me.

OK, maybe the real librarian job isn’t so Indiana Jonesish. But we do look up tons of things; searching for information is a core task of any librarian. But what about the Internet I can hear you say. Well, a lot of people cannot manage even a copier, let alone a computer. Even phone numbers can be hard to find. And  for those patrons who are Internet savvy and find the easy stuff, there are still questions – super hard questions – that come to us at the reference desk. Plus, although we don’t have a massive hardback copy of the Reader’s Guide anymore, we have databases that do the same thing, and that we pay for and that our patrons have just as much trouble using them as they did the Reader’s Guide. In addition to things like ancestry and consumer’s reports and so on.

Finally, although one of the prongs of a librarian’s job is information, the other is community, at least in a public library. Programs from how to dye to how to use your Kindle, how to set up email and where to find a good doctor. We are legally not allowed to offer medical, legal or tax advice, but man we sure get a lot of questions in those fields. Because my library is located near a court, we help a lot of people with family issue kind of things – referrals to lawyers and/or books and databases. And this doesn’t even include all the popular stuff like the latest bestseller or movie.

Clearly I love my job. Partly this is because being a librarian is such a clean job. We help people. And this is one of the last bastions, probably the last, where we do not expect the users to come in with a credit card. Sure, you’ll pay modest fines for overdues, generally in the area of .10 cents a day. and you’ll pay for photocopies. But you don’t have to be a member to sit and read the paper. Or to check your email on a computer. Or to ask a question.

So, although we don’t save the world by searching for magical artifacts, I feel we do our bit in saving the world a little bit at a time.



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