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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Librarian Guilty Pleasures

Yesterday I had a day off work and the chance to indulge myself. Since the weather was too rainy for yard work and I had absolutely no motivation for cleaning the house, I spent the day relaxing.

When I wasn't napping, I was reading a book from my public library called This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can "Save Us All" by Marilyn Johnson. Why is that a guilty pleasure? Well, you may never have thought about it this way, but librarians are the ones who select the books for the library, and occasionally they choose a book they'd like to read. Gasp! Shocking, isn't it? This book's theme is about the author's experience in writing a book about librarians. Now come on, who is going to pick that one off the shelf, except a librarian? Especially when it features a female librarian in a super hero cape on the cover.

###I'm interrupting the blog post at this point to say I didn't order the book. You picked up on that, right? In case you don't remember or you didn't know, I don't work for a public library. Just checking that we're all clear on that. Now back to the blog post.###

I enjoyed reading the book especially the chapter on blogging librarians. Naturally I looked for a mention of my own blog, but sadly, it wasn't there. Perhaps if the author had extended the chapter for a few more pages... Anyways, she included a few great quotes I savored about librarian bloggers:

"Unedited and unmonitored, blogs represented a kind of free expression that librarians traditionally supported and celebrated, but had rarely taken the opportunity to practice."

"...librarians, as it happens, were cauldrons of previously unexpressed passions."

In another chapter the author, Marilyn Johnson, mentions a classic film about librarians facing the threat of being replaced by computers. I was intrigued. Enough that I stopped reading and went online to check its availability. Where do you think I found it? At a local library, of course. So last night my husband and I enjoyed watching Desk Set, a 1957 film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

I highly recommend the film to anyone, librarian or not. So why is watching that film a guilty pleasure? In the film the female librarians are smarter than the computer and the men too. Desk Set shows librarians answering reference questions received through the telephone. Real research questions as opposed to the kind I usually field. The worst one being a request to help someone put her jewelry on the other day. Really?!!! Desk Set is how I pictured a professional librarian's job when I was a naive library school student. Watching it for 103 minutes was a highly satisfying vicarious experience for me. Ahhhh....Like mint chocolate chip ice cream for my librarian soul.


Megan said...

I'd never heard of that movie before, but it sounds very "retro cool" :D The reference librarians I work for complain about never getting "good" questions anymore, too.

I've been wanting to 'check out' this book for awhile but never seem to get around to it. Thanks for your post - now I have to check it out! :)

Taylorstales-Genealogy said...

Thanks friend,
I picked up one of my books and of course grabbed the chocolate mint ice cream, ahh heaven!!!

erin e. said...

Sarah, you forget about 'Party Girl' with Parker Posey. One of the best librarian movies ever!!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Erin,
I haven't seen Party Girl. I will have to watch that soon. Thanks for the recommendation!