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#35 – Guest Posting: Just Call Me Osama bin Librarian

Who better to write a guest posting with my theme of “Stuff Books Taught Me” than a librarian? This guest posting was written by the lovely librarian, Rebecca, of  Larocque and Roll.

Last summer, four librarians from Nigeria, Cuba and Iran were denied visas to go to the IFLA [1] conference in Montreal.  While I’m sure the Harper government had VERY good reasons for denying them [2], there was a letter to the editor[3] in the Toronto Star that identified the real reason they were not allowed to go to the conference: librarians are the real terrorists everyone needs to be worried about.

Think about it.  Librarians work in buildings surrounded by books, magazines, music CDs, movies, newspapers and audiobooks that contain information that could be dangerous if it ever got into the wrong hands.  For instance, things like the idea that man evolved from simians, the government is lying to us about the existence of aliens, and the fact that god may or may not exist.  Scary stuff, indeed.

In fact, librarians will go as far as to actually help people looking for dangerous ideas.  Want a book about witchcraft?  It’s over here in the 133.43s.  Evolution?  Check the 576.8 section – there are some books there.  You need some good novels to read on vacation?  Awesome – here’s some you might enjoy.

And you know what?  Librarians will let absolutely anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation or political creed, access this information.  That’s right – anyone can come in, borrow books about Communist philosophy and how-to books for building a web site, and librarians won’t even ask them if they are planning on starting a political group and posting about it online.  Nope, they don’t care. [4]  Will no one think of the children?

(Thankfully, there is a group in Wisconsin who are doing just that – they want some very dangerous books removed from the teen section and labeled as “sexually explicit” for their “gay-affirming” portrayals of homosexuality. [5] [7]  It’s just a small step on the path to making sure that certain people are protected from ideas that other people (who are clearly not those terrorist librarians!) deem dangerous.)

While perhaps it’s going a little far to call us terrorists, we are by no means neutral in the war for your mind.  We stop at very little [8] to help you find what you were looking for, and sometimes things you weren’t.  We won’t hesitate to redirect you if you’re on the wrong path, and we also won’t hesitate to eliminate material that is outdated or old.  Nor will we stand in the way of allowing materials on opposite sides of an issue into the library.  We’re cool that way.

However, if there is one thing we have in common with terrorists, it’s that we love the sound of minds being blown by new ideas.

[1] International Federation of Library Associations.  We’re worldwide, yo.
[2] SURE.  RIGHT.
[3] Note: The letter to the editor was written by my boss’s wife, which we (the staff) didn’t realize for a few days
[4] Seriously.  We don’t.
[5] If that happens, I can tell you exactly how that will end: teens will be FLOCKING to take out the books with the “sexually explicit” label, which will increase the number of teens visiting the library to check out the dangerous material, which will just drive up the circulation numbers.  Way to go, censors!  In fact, maybe the library should go ahead and label them “sexually explicit” to spite them. [6]
[6] That wasn’t a legitimate suggestion.  I was just kidding.
[7] They also want the library to include books written by “ex-gays” which as a librarian (just not the one who is in charge of book-buying), I would say yes to, if only so more people could see how completely deluded they are.
[8] Excessive overdue fines, numerous lost items, lost library cards, etc.

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