Sunday, April 7, 2019
Librarians and dogs
Among the many groups I once suspected would have found my blog interesting, librarians were among the top. After all, I write extensively about libraries; the culture, the politics, and the dream of libraries. I write about the philosophy of libraries, library people, and I write a great deal about books, both as objects of literature and entertainment, and as brute things, glorified bricks. And though I have never shied away from cataloging the foibles and shortcomings of librarians themselves, surely the vast majority of them would have the self-awareness and humility and recognition to take it all in rueful chuckle.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
But I suppose that it goes both ways. Today I was leaving the fiction area with my cart emptied of the books I shelved in the peaceful pre opening hours of the library. In the distance, at the reference desk, I saw a librarian. This person must have been a substitute. I did not know her. I had no feelings about her personally. I may turn out to like her perfectly well and I may never see her again. But glancing over, seeing a librarian, I felt a frisson of irritation. And I had a sudden epiphany:
I feel exactly about librarians as I do about dogs.
On an individual basis the sky is the limit in terms of how much I can like them, how glad I am that they exist, and how much I wish their whole grouping were at their delightful standard. I have known some absolute wonderful librarians, some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure to meet and befriend. And I have known some delightful dogs, some of the best personalities and most charming animals I have known.
But as a general rule I am inclined to watch them both from a wary distance, hoping they don't pee on anything I find important.