What Type of Media Belongs in a Library? The article reminded me about something that I have always thought was a touchy subject, but is one worth talking about.
I don't love books.
I know so many librarians who are bibliophiles. They live, breathe, and eat books. While I too appreciate the ambrosial smell of a well-loved book, my passion with books really ends there. I don't love any particular manifestation (to use the RDA term) of media. I love stories. I love data. I love information. I especially love dissemination. But books, I can take or leave.
I'm not terrified that the book is dying. If the book
dies, then the book dies. I wonder if there were scribes somewhere panicking at the thought of the death of the scroll when the bound book was introduced. It's just another type of technology, that's all. I don't care of it's a Kindle, an ipad, a laptop, or a smartphone. I'll read anywhere on anything.
Now, don't get me wrong. I will always cherish some books in their bound format. I appreciate the way they look and feel and the memories they trigger as a result. Books will always have a place in my heart as a cherished commodity. I simply don't believe that a progression of technology, from a bound book to a digital format, foreshadows the apocalypse.
The reason why this is such a difficult subject for me to discuss is because it happens to come up in interviews, and I'm at a loss of how to respond. I always seem to be interviewed by bibliophiles who want to hire librarians who want nothing more than to sit around absorbing the essence of books through osmosis. That's not what I want and that's not what I'm about. I want to help people learn. I want to help PEOPLE find information, not help people find BOOKS. Etymologically speaking, I don't want to be a LIBRarian so much as an INFOrarian or an EDUrarian.
It doesn't sound so unreasonable. If anything, I thought I always spoke to the core of what librarianship should be about. I expected to be lauded for my thoughts. But instead I'm always stared at like I have seven heads. I'm treated like a pariah, cast out of the religious order of book huggers. Is it such a crime? To be a librarian, do you have to love books? Or do I have to pretend to love books to get a job?