Thursday, 30 June 2011

Satisfying Curiosity

Unconventional Responses to Conventional Questions

“What’s an MLS?”

            It’s a master’s in library science. What’s that? Well you see, the creation of library buildings is a complex science that involves taking into account not only the weight of books, but the appropriate air quality needed to maintain the integrity of the books. We also consider what is required for optimal lighting – too bright, and you get a hostipal-like quality, too dim and it is conducive to sleeping, which we really don’t like to encourage. We work closely with architects and city planners…

“What? You need a master’s degree to become a librarian?”

            Nope. You don’t. However, it is a useful signifier to future employers that you may indeed be qualified to single-handedly run a library – and that’s including all of the library materials, staff, finances, etc. But you don’t need one. Many jobs require that you have an ALA-accredited MLS degree or equivalent degree or experience. But getting the degree not only gives you a good general knowledge of libraries and how they work, but it’s a great way to get involved in the field and network with librarians around the world. Granted, it’s a lot of hoop-jumping and busy-work, but for individuals previously unacquainted with the inner workings of a library, it can be a useful education. Unless you already know how to derive dewey decimal numbers, promote information literacy, and answer the age-old question, "Is the antelope a document?"

“Aren’t librarians going to become obsolete?”

Your mom didn’t think so last night! (Zing!)


…when I catalogued her entire Danielle Steel collection. No really, it took all night. That woman needs a new genre.

"I really like books; should I become a librarian?"

            Yes. But first you must seek therapy for bibliomania (an obsessive-compulsive disorder involving the collecting of books) or abibliophobia (fear of running out of things to read). Then you can get a referral from your doctor indicating that you should enter an MLS program.

I tend to answer questions like these in a manner suiting the individual asking me. If I’m asked in a condescending manner, I’m not going to dignify your question with a legitimate response. But sometimes I just like to be sassy. With a little creativity, even the most most asinine and repetitive questions can become fun!

Comic from Unshelved by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes.

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