Recently, I completed the requirements to receive my Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree which means I soon get to be a bona fide Librarian! So—I get to help fight demons, find King Arthur’s sword, protect the world from evil, and that sort of thing—right?? No? Darn…
This, at least, is what pop culture suggests with what shows like The Librarians, Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer portray. And, while I may not have any special superhero abilities and research actually takes me time (though I must admit, I’m pretty jealous of Sam Winchester’s absurd ability to automatically recall what a specific Library of Congress Call number refers to) it feels good to know I’ll be in a field where I will actually get to help others (while being surrounded by books!). It probably comes as no shock that, as a child, one of my favorite fictional characters was Belle from Beauty in the Beast. I would still love to have my own personal library room one day. Then there is Rupert Giles, the Young Adult Librarian I aspire to be one day (well, minus the fighting demons and mentoring a Slayer part). Think about it though….teens actually want to hang with him at the library and go to the library because of him!
Still, for every TV show that presents the awesome, brilliant librarian, there are still stereotypes of the introverted, anti-social, shushing librarian who wears glasses and a cardigan. Well, actually, that last part of that stereotype is true in my case at least. I wear eyeglasses and often wear cardigans…because it tends to be freezing in the libraries where I work, not because it’s librarian style. And, yes, library staff do have to ask patrons to be quiet every once in a while. In a perfect library world, all libraries would have a quiet and group study area, but unfortunately most small public libraries simply don’t have the space.
So…my career will probably never involve using my research skills to help fight the Apocalypse—and to be honest that’s completely okay with me. But, as a Youth Services Librarian, if I can help even one reluctant reader find a book he can’t put down…if I can encourage a shy child to open up and participate during story time…if I can help provide a space for that girl or boy with no place else to go after school…if I can bring free informational, educational, and entertainment programs to the library and help create a community center at the library—then well, I’ll sure feel like superhero! I already have the mandatory Librarian superhero outfit down after all.
Here are some of my favorite pop-culture Libraries…in no particular order…
- The library from Ghostbusters
- Doctor Who “Silence in the Library”
- Sunnydale High School Library from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- The Beast’s Library from Beauty and the Beast
- The Men of Letters Bunker / Library from Supernatural
- Hogwarts Library from Harry Potter
- The home library from the Book Thief
- The library from Orange is the New Black
What are yours?