Librarians immortalisedNovember 6th, 2012
If there was a book about you, what would the title be? How would your students, and your school staff, describe what you do? Perceptions of the role and character traits of library staff have been captured through the decades by writers, cartoonists and movie-makers. Stereotypically these have varied from the stern old dragon to …… [fill in all the images that sprang to your mind!]
Delightful portrayals include:
“You see, “I don't believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that's been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians.” Monty Python
“As a general rule, librarians are a kick in the pants socially, often full of good humor, progressive, and naturally, well read. They tend to be generalists who know so much about so many things that they are quite the opposite of the boring old poops they have been made out to be...” Bill Hall, editor, Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune
Librarians are not to be taken for granted:
"Mary Kay is one of the secret masters of the world: a librarian. They control information. Don’t ever piss one off."
Spider Robinson, The Callahan Touch
Certain expectations are required of librarians:
“People flock in, nevertheless, in search of answers to those questions only librarians are considered to be able to answer, such as "Is this laundry?" "How do you spell surreptitious?" and, on a regular basis, "Do you have a book I remember reading once? It had a red cover and it turned out they were twins.” Terry Pratchett, Going Postal
“If she can't spell, why is she a librarian? Librarians should know how to spell.” Beverley Cleary, Ramona’s World.
Beverley Cleary was a librarian, whose school librarian had instilled in her a belief that she, too, could write for children someday.
The value and influence of the librarian from a student’s perspective:
“As a kid in West Virginia, I had a very rich imaginary world. And my dream was to grow up to be a librarian, because I had a librarian named Mrs. McCann who I thought was the most magical woman on the planet. She used to publish little versions of my stories, typing them on manila folders and illustrating them with pictures of me and my teddy bear: T-Bear Goes to Mars and T-Bear's Trip to the Moon. She was my first mentor—the first person who really took an interest in me for me, which when you're a kid is a major deal. I've had other mentors, and those relationships were based on reading. They gave me a sense of who I was.” Jennifer Garner Interview, Oprah Magazine
“She's a librarian, Sim said. They're not teachers; don't give you half as much hassle. If there's a fire in the school and I've got to choose who I'm gonna save - a teacher or a librarian - the teacher's gonna burn every time.” Keith Gray, Ostrich boys
With annual reports and performance appraisals looming, what feedback on you and your library’s services could you include from your students, staff and parents/whänau? What would their responses look like, sound like and feel like? In 10, 20, 30+ years’ time, what memories will your students have of you as having been an influence on their lives?