17 June 2006

Me, a librarian?

Hi, my name is Alex, and I'm a sort-of librarian-ish kinda person, grounded on the fact that I work for a library. I won't actually say I'm a librarian (nor should I, given my lack of librarian education), because people would get all sorts of wrong ideas about me (well, more wrong ideas about me), but there's all sorts of fun stereotypical traits curled up in the librarian notion, so why not poke a stick in it to see if it rustles?

A librarian is someone who has great knowledge about books, wears glasses, is probably an older lady, and classifies their breakfast by the Dewey Decimal System. Oh, and she reads a lot! So, in the spirit on self-inflicted pain and memes, here's my "Me, a librarian?" meme, where I explain how I'm not a librarian at all ;


  • Have glasses? Yes, but they are too cool to be regarded as 'librarians' glasses. They're also broken, and I wear padding and / or bits of tape on my nose so I won't get headaches. Yes, I should get them fixed.

  • Gray hair? A couple here and there, but not as worrisome as the beginning lack of hair.

  • Old? Ouch! Probably not?

  • A lady? Only when provoked.

Right, so I don't look much like one. let's move on to the next stereotype.


  • The last book I read : Mastering SQL, 4th edition

  • No, I mean like real litterature : Terry Pratchet's "Lords and Ladies"

  • Oh c'mon, like real serious litterature : Monteverdi : biography

  • Ok nerd, that was just a bit too serious. How about a good novel? Nothing comes to mind.

Uh, ok, so I read stuff that's mostly uninteresting to the general public. Surely there must be some librarian stereotype I can squeeze into?


  • Lift books around? No, but I occasional lift a laptop with eBooks on it.

  • Answer questions about information? Not in the "Hi, how can I help you?" way. I'm more in the "Over there's the reference desk" category.

  • Can think of nothing better than throwing Dewey Decimals into normal social conversations : I couldn't tell you a Dewey code to save myself.

  • Knows the MARC field number for subtitle : Hmm, possibly 245 subfield b?

I don't do much typical librarians work either, it seems. What about philosophy, then? Eh? Eh?


  • Know what 'epistemology' is? Yes, and I do throw that word into normal social conversation as often as I can.

  • Does the library contain books? Only as items part of collections, but there is all sorts of objects in our collections.

  • The library is all about lending books to people? Hell no; it's all about preserving and giving access to culture.

  • The future of the library is? Worrisome; there's so much the libraries do that nobody else cares about, stuff where there is no commercial nor general interest. We do things because we understand the cultural knowledge that comes through preservations of all sorts of things, not just books. We also recognise that the market-driven capitalist governments would pull the plug on our funding if they knew we existed.

Saved by the last section, I reckon.

So, how much of a librarian are you?

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