Things Librarians Fancy, Chapter II
Itâ€™s time to once again peer into the hidden world of librarians.
Blatantly borrowing a concept from a website that shall remain nameless, I present Things Librarians Fancy, Chapter II.
I am, for the record, guilty of many (many (many)) of the items described below.
There is nothing that gives a librarian more pleasure than talking someone into reading a book they didnâ€™t know they were interested in (or “hand-selling”). Avid hand-sellers have been known to carve notches on their circulation desks for every patron they successfully persuade. Fast Fact: Overly-ambitious librarian Anna Demson holds the record for hand-selling. She once convinced a patron to check out War and Peace, Two and a Half Men (Season 4) DVD, and buy the half eaten bag of Doritos from her lunch!
Small, Unseen Boom Boxes Playing Soft Music
If you hear gentle music emanating from places unknown, chances are youâ€™re in a school library, where small boom boxes are often hidden behind desks and shelves, playing music that creates just the right mood. Fast Fact: In the Uline District Library, a Coby TH-2312 CD Player/Radio has been playing Lite 96 FM for eight years nonstop. Librarians have been unable to find the device to turn it off!
Not Being Called Librarians
Uncommon titles such as School Library Media Specialist, Cybrarian, and Media Technologist have been created and adopted to inform patrons that important things are going on in the library – things they wouldnâ€™t understand. Fast Fact: Charles Trastel has given himself what is considered to be the most secretive librarian title, changing the sign on his office and business cards to read â€œHead Wildlife Photographer in charge of Literature Importing/Exportingâ€. Successfully confusing his staff, he has not had to attend a meeting since this change in 2006!
Applying Stickers to Books
Librarians will do anything to help patrons find the right book, even if it includes completely disguising the book behind an array of labels, barcodes, tags, dots, and reading level stickers. Fast Fact: Several library supply companies have begun selling Groucho Marx-inspired glasses with attached false noses to help further the book anonymity.
Foreign Edition Covers
Librarians derive great pleasure out of introducing strangers and colleagues to familiar books sporting unfamiliar covers. After proudly displaying the foreign edition, librarians will typically respond to confused looks with curt â€œItâ€™s from the UKâ€. Fast Fact: The most staunch foreign edition cover supporter, Ellen Blant, refuses to read any book that is written in her native language, resulting in 0.0 books read in the last five years.
Exhaustively Precise Cataloging
The librarianâ€™s mind is a cluttered place, and nothing brings order to the world better than obsessively kept records. If itâ€™s a thing, and itâ€™s in the library, chances are it has been given a MARC record detailing its weight, color, dimensions, and current mood. Fast Fact: Librarian Stephen Bredel has been called â€œThe King of Catalogingâ€. In his library he catalogs the individual tissues in boxes of Kleenex, because â€œthey have a way of walking offâ€.
Well before it became reality-show vogue, librarians were the original hoarders. Weeding, or the act of removing unusable materials, has yet to catch on among many in the profession. To librarians, the older and more out-of-date a book is, the more its importance grows. Reality is often altered for support. Dated is turned into â€œcollectibleâ€, while damaged quickly becomes â€œnear-mint conditionâ€. Fast Fact: The most extreme case of weeding negligence took place in Anderton District Library, where a complete set of 100 reference books on Burt Reynoldsâ€™s moustache were discovered on an out-of-the-way shelf labeled â€œtreasured keepsakesâ€.
‘Librarian X meets the Laugh Out Loud+cats!‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/53057512@N00/3057613794
‘she was an open book to all+that+knew+her‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/53611153@N00/272560684
‘Anita Ozols typing in Cataloging Department of+Ohio+University’s+Chubb+Library,+1969‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/37066425@N08/3513478201
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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