Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A quick aside about library school

I'm taking a class called History of the Book this quarter. Since I'm nearly finished with my degree, I thought it would be a nice departure from the classes I typically take, which are more focused on the technical side of organizing information. WAIT! Don't fall asleep yet. This is not going to be boring. Actually, it probably is.

So, here's the thing about this History of the Book class: it is filled with first-year students who want to be archivists. They love, love, LOVE old stuff. They also love books. Now, I may be wrong, but it seems to me that in general, people like books, and I would say a lot of people love them, even *gasp* non-librarians. So I have never spent a lot of time feeling special for liking (loving?) books, and I don't generally make a big fuss about it. But these people, oh no: they are special. For example: We went on a field trip to a rare books store, and this girl was talking about how she really wanted to buy this book, but it was so expensive, but she collects books with rare Japanese bindings and this was an example of one she doesn't have. Oh. Truly it was heartbreaking gag inducing.

For a few weeks I was feeling pretty guilty for feeling this way, because hey. To each his own, right? And maybe I am the only person in library school who doesn't get a thrill out of old books. But then! Earlier this week I went on a field trip to a book storage facility, and when we walked into the warehouse, I heard the following:

" smells like books."

"Yeah. And it is totally gross."

I wanted to turn around and hug her. Not because I thought the smell was gross* but because I finally knew that I wasn't missing some crucial brain piece that ensured my place in library school. It was liberating. So now, I just have to fight the urge not to tell all the archivists of the blasphemy happening right in their very own library science program. They may fall over dead.

*although when I told this story to a friend she nodded and said, "well it is moldy paper."

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