Monday, April 20, 2009

You could say "Copy That" if only you weren't surrounded by all that copyrighted material.

The strangest epiphanies can happen over some good chips and salsa.

My daughter and I were out for dinner with Nancy and her sweet girl. The four of us were munching on tamales and sopapillas when the subject of the library came up.

"My Mom would never take me to the library," my poor, neglected child said with a sigh and a giggle.

So I asked Nancy to pay the check and then I ran to the car and sobbed.

Not really. They hadn't brought us the check yet.

I answered the pitiful comment, "I really need to get over that... besides, I still like the bookstore."

My child's reading skills are where they should be so she is obviously getting some good reading material from somewhere. The somewhere is the library from which Hubs checks out the books.

Let me tell you something about Hubs. He is quite comfortable in the library which is more than I can say about his feelings concerning buffet lines. In fact, he used to work there.

I married a librarian.

He is going to run in here screaming if I don't go ahead and set this straight. Technically, he was a college grad awaiting another job who worked at the library. Temporarily. For a full year.

As you can see, my aversion to libraries is ironic considering who I married. Let me add here that Hubs never once worked for the post office although he was allowed to go in the back, behind the counter and find a letter he had just mailed in order to put more postage on it.

The other night Hubs decided to tap into my borderline psychosis by explaining to me the many duties of a librarian, specifically the Reference Librarian.

Apparently, the Reference Librarian is an expert in her field. One must undergo tedious instruction and certification for this title. She has skills that others dream of.

In his words, "she is like the Special Forces of Librarians."

Hubs decided to google Reference Librarian and found some terms and definitions on Wikipedia that must have been written by the Book-stacking Black Ops themselves.

Here are a few:

Librarians are experts in the contents and arrangement of their collections, as well as how information is organized outside the library.

Wow. I can't even find my keys.

Library users are encouraged not to be shy about asking a reference librarian for help. Even though most librarians stay busy when not serving a patron, their primary duty when they are at the desk is to assist library users.

Really. I thought they were there to make me feel organizationally inferior.

Using a structured reference interview, the librarian works with the library user to clarify their needs and determine what information sources will fill them.

I'm so glad the reference interview is structured. The library itself is just a total mess.

To borrow a medical analogy, reference librarians diagnose and treat information deficiencies.

But do they always wash their hands between readers?

Here are a few skills that a Master's Degree in Library Science will provide. (Unlike those Bachelor Degree Librarians, the Physician's Assistants of Book Stacking.)

The librarian can look up a brief, factual answer to a specific question.

The librarian can use the catalogue to find out whether the library owns an item with a particular title or author, or that contains a short story, chapter, song, or poem with a particular title, or to compile a list of books by a particular author or on a particular subject.

Not that they are particular.

And here is my favorite skill of the Reference Librarian, one which I've never experienced personally.

The librarian can often take the library user directly to the shelves with books on a certain topic without using the catalogue.

Which is like the Jack Bauer of Librarians. You know, without the violence and all.

So I guess if I could start to see the library the same way I see the CIA or the FBI or my family doctor then maybe I could get over my aversion and my child would not be so deprived of literary access.

Nah. I think Hubs' Wikipedia search backfired. Now I just see the library as an exam room with torture devices.

Kind of makes waterboarding sound like a trip to the bookstore.


7 comments:

Susanne said...

LOL. I absolutely love libraries. Could get lost in them for hours just perusing everything. Even when I was a kid, I was always asking the school librarians if I could help in there. I don't know why I never did become a librarian. Strange now that I think about it. But who knew you had to get master's degrees in the subject. Four years or more of university. There must be more to it than I thought. I thought you just applied at the city. ;v)

Nancy said...

When I was a little girl wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. I guess I'm glad that never really worked out for me.

The funniest quote to me... "To borrow a medical analogy, reference librarians diagnose and treat information deficiencies"...as if we were all familiar with medical procedures and terminology.

Truthfully, I haven't been in an actual library in years. Bookstores and Amazon had me at hello.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Too funny. I would like to be a librarian, but not a reference librarian because they're being pushed into extinction by search engines.

TexasRed said...

I'm good with the local library -- although I usually stick with the New Arrivals shelves so I don't end up with more books than I can carry. My only problem is when I rack up the fees and hide out for a few months (like now).

Robyn said...

I enjoy your posts very much!!
Hugs
Robyn xx

kimberly t. bowling said...

This post had me laughing out loud....and you know the library is a place to be quiet!! :)

So funny because I had just returned from the public library yesterday getting books for free...and realizing they didn't have either title for my book clubs this month. Argh....Barnes and Noble is my hero though, as usual. :)

Elizabeth(DitatDeus.Typepad.Com) said...

Oh my gosh too funny! Thanks for the laugh!