[ Issue 45 ]

Emily Bronto is without doubt an admirer of Librarians

Bikwil celebrates Librarians


In the Web Line column for Issue 45 Tony Rogers unveils just how much coverage the Internet has of librarians in literature, movies and song.  Sites on the topic are more common than one might think.

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Web Line — Tony Rogers


It’s always heartening to discover a new species of “magnificent obsession” on the Net. Even better if you share something of that interest.

Share? Well, one or two readers might recall that in Issue 5 (January 1998) this former librarian wrote about online library catalogues, and today’s the day I’m going to unveil some sites that reflect a special aspect of things bibliothecarian. Welcome to Internet Coverage of Libraries and Librarians in Literature, Movies and Song. It’s more extensive than you might have expected.

Let’s start with Libraries in Science Fiction. This is a 4,000-word article by James Gunn, himself a writer of science fiction. Authors represented include Isaac Asimov, Jorge Luis Borges, Robert A. Heinlein, David H. Keller, H. P. Lovecraft, Walter Miller, Jr., Eric Frank Russell and George R. Stewart.

For detective story readers there’s Bibliomysteries. In addition to browsing alphabetically, you can look under categories such as Short Stories, Juvenile Books, Media, References, Detectives and Series, Authors in Bibliomysteries and Weapons. Links are also provided.

The Image of the Librarian in Fiction and News Reports is in the form of a presentation and reproductions of slides are included.

In this presentation we will look at the image of the librarian throughout history, from the Middle Ages, right through to the present day . . . and beyond.

Film depictions of librarians are also covered.

A fascinating bibliography is to be found at Librarians As Characters In Fiction. The following topics are covered: Children’s Picture Books, Intermediate Readers, Young Adult Books, Adult Fiction (General), Adult Mystery, Adult Romance. Poetry, too, is addressed.

Librarians in the Movies, An Annotated Filmography has in excess of 550 films listed. Regularly maintained, this site provides, among other features, a title index of the films, a list of actors and actresses who have portrayed librarians, plus a short bibliography of articles about librarians in the movies.

And now we come to Blisspix.

Despite the often incorrect rep of libraries being quiet places, there are dozens of songs written about them. Some are great, some are just terrible.

Make that “extremely appalling”, please, though the examples from The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, Tom Chapin and Elvis Costello aren’t too bad. Devoted to lyrics only, the site is laid out in two categories: songs about libraries/librarians, and songs about books/reading.

So, how many librarians does it take to change a light bulb? As you’ll see at IFLANET Library Humour (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), it depends on what sort of librarians they are: reference librarians, cataloguers . . .

A couple of other library humour sites are Library Cartoons: An Annotated Bibliography and Librarians in Comics. Note: in the latter there are no cartoons shown, but enough description for each cartoon to make the joke clear. For instance, it lists a strip or cartoon called Librarian New Year’s Celebrations which shows a female librarian in glasses blowing into a party noisemaker that makes a “shhh” sound.

One particular library, the British Museum, deserves its own mention here. As Citysongs reminds us,

London is famous for its weather, so much so that George Gershwin’s A Foggy Day has been recorded by artists ranging from Fred Astaire to David Bowie. In the song, London’s well-known fog becomes a metaphor for loneliness:

A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm.

And then, at Aspects of E. M. Forster, there’s reproduced the text of a plaque at the front of the old circular Reading Room, which shows authors with some connection to the B.M. As well as Forster these include Max Beerbohm, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George Gissing, David Lodge (who set a large part of his funny novel The British Museum is Falling Down in the Reading Room) and Karl Marx.

So much for quietly enthusiastic librariana, then. You never know: one of these days I may do something similar on other professions/occupations.

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