What is it about librarians?

Long ago a wizened sage told me to stick with the tellers of stories and the keepers of the lore — honor the librarians in any organization, he told me, and good fortune, warm breezes and good beer would be mine forever.

He didn’t exaggerate much. Librarians, in my experience, often occupy the last island of sanity in a crazed organization. If nothing else, they can point you to the really good stuff.

So I occasionally peruse a librarian’s blog here and there. I notice a trend.

“Marian, Madame Librarian” is not the image these librarians want.* In their minds, perhaps in their lives — who knows? — they lead racier lives. Evidence? Check out the names of the blogs on the blog roll of the librarian who blogs under the masthead @ the library (warning: I’ve not checked these for at-work safety):

What is it about librarians?

Ad for New York City's Library Bar
No, they are not real librarians — that’s an ad for a New York bar, the Library Bar. Maybe the owners of the bar know something?

Update, March 30: More librarian blog names to ponder, from the sidebar of Tiny Little Librarian:

And, don’t overlook Fifteen Iguana.


*    I love this kind of stuff:  Marian Paroo, the librarian in Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man,” appears to have been inspired by a woman from Provo, Utah, Marian SeeleyWillson met Seeley during World War II, when she was a medical records librarian. Seeley is her married name.  Her husband, Frank Seeley, was the Provo native.  Seeley was a relatively common name in Utah County when I lived there; we had two Seeley families living in Pleasant Grove, Utah — brothers, one a teacher.  They’re all related, somewhere.  [Cheryl and Michelle Seeley, where are you now?]

12 Responses to What is it about librarians?

  1. Bad says:

    I’ve hung out in that bar….


  2. ladyteacher says:

    It has been my experience (as a rather unconventional English teacher), that librarians are as varied as the print and electronic resources for which they are in charge. However, I will state that two of my very good friends are, indeed, librarians, and both are completely hilarious, original, quirky, and exceptionally well-versed in everything they have “in stock”.


  3. bernarda says:

    A librarian blog that seems interesting is “Travelin Librarian”.


    Maybe many have known this video for a long time “Medieval Help Desk”.


  4. onlycrook says:

    As a librarian, I subscribe to a lot of librarian blogs. None of them are sexy. I haven’t read any of these (except Shifted Librarian).

    Although I frequently mention the library in my blog, I could never blog just about libraries. But maybe that’s because I’m not a public librarian, like most of these bloggers appear to be. Working in a public library would be hell on earth from my perspective. Most public librarian blogs seem to consist of 1) complaining about library customers and 2) complaining about library management.


  5. bernarda says:

    Wasting a bit of time, I decided to see what was on youtube.

    An ad for a library.

    Monty Python hiring a librarian.


  6. Woeful says:

    I’m doing my best to dispel the librarian stereotype.


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Oooh, and how about this one?
    Library bitch.

    And this one?
    Librarian Avengers

    The Shifted Librarian


  8. QrazyQat says:

    Librarians tend to be for freedom of information; this isn’t compartmentalized for a lot of them. I learned long ago that librarians are hot.


  9. bernarda says:

    I worked for a couple of years in a university library while I was a student. The people I worked for were all wonderful. Several encouraged me to go into the field. I didn’t, but perhaps it was a mistake. They thought I would be good for it.

    Not about librarians, but story telling. BBC Radio 4 has a wonderful program called “In Our Time”. Here is a link to the story of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Gosh you can learn a lot. There are dozens of other fascinating programs at the site.



  10. qugrainne says:

    Librarians. I love librarians, and have many fond memories from my childhood of the wonderful women who pointed me towards the perfect book. (None of them were men…?) There is a paragraph from a book I liked very much, “The Island of Lost Maps – A True Story of Cartograhic Crime” by Miles Harvey, that describes my feelings, perfectly, about librarians:

    “What a vapid job title our culture gives to those honorable laborers the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians variously called Learned Men of the Magic Library, Scribes of the Double House of Life, Mistresses of the House of Books, or Ordainers of the Universe. Librarian – that mouth-contorting, graceless grind of a word, that dry gulch in the dictionary between libido and licentious – it practically begs you to envision a stoop-shouldered loser, socks mismatched, eyes locked in a permanent squint from reading too much microfiche. If it were up to me, I would abolish the word entirely and turn back to the lexicological wisdom of the ancients, who saw librarians not as feeble sorters and shelvers but as heroic guardians. In Assyrian, Babylonian, and Egyptian cultures alike, those who toiled at the shelves were often bestowed with a proud, even soldierly, title: Keeper of the Books.” In the opinion of historian Barbara Tuchman, librarians believe that “books are humanity in print.” Librarians are guarding mortal flesh, and if books are not protected, the past dies.

    I will have to check out a few of the sites you have included above. I have a very good friend who is a librarian, and she is a stitch!


  11. zhoen says:

    And http://www.unshelved.com/.

    There are quite a number of very un-traditional folks working in libraries. Of all flavors.


  12. tan crayon says:

    All the librarians at my university are old and musty if not cranky! I can’t say I find them interesting, they don’t even have long beards!


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