01 November 2009

second star to the right, and straight on till morning

I am going to retire.

Funny. When I finished graduate school in 1980, I had already worked as a librarian trainee for a year. Then I got the first position that I interviewed for. (I lied to get it. The director needed someone for a temporary position to do reference and the library's newsletter. "Can you do camera-ready pasteup?" "Oh, sure...")

The position was supposed to expire in 30 days, but here I am, 30 years later, and I'm going to retire. I don't know when the state will decide to correlate 30 earthly years with its own unearthly and nutty calendar - maybe 3, months, or 4 - but then, I will leave, and I will not be replaced.

I will not be replaced. My kind is extinct.
("Oh, I remember when librarians did that picky stuff....." ) We catalogers were trained to be analytical and precise, maybe even picky, maybe even prissy. We used an official thesaurus from the Library of Congress, and strict rules of punctuation that separated the title from the subtitle, the author from the illustrator. We followed many rules. We had to: if we were sloppy, if the card catalog was downright wrong or even imprecise, the books would be forever lost on the shelves, lonely and unread.

Now that the online catalogs can be searched as easily as Google, catalogers are just the annoying creatures who buzz around the library sidelines, hairpins dropping from our buns while we practice that ancient Olympic sport, synchronized shhhh-ing.

I wonder who will do the simple things once we all are gone, the non-glam, prissy things like proof-reading. If you happened to look at the library catalog before I proof-read the entry for a new children's book about Disney's wide world of fairies, you, too might have believed that the doyenne of Disney's fae folk was -


Thinkerbelle! I bet she could tell some stories about ol' Peter Pan and Wendy!

To be continued --


KSD said...

Happy? Sad? Relieved? Non-committal?

Donna Lee said...

I think the tough part is the Not Being Replaced part. I suppose you could assume you are irreplaceable.

Penny said...


LICraftgal said...

Bummer!! Such a shame that people are being replaced by machines. It is a cold world out there.

KnitNana said...

Two sides to this coin: YAY! You're getting out of there!!!
and then...
30 years to not be replaced. Our world is so different from when we began, and not that it's all good, but it's not all bad either.

But personally? I know you've been thinking on this a long time. And the decision is finally made. That has to have some heavy weight off you? Some relief?

amy said...

Congratulations? On the retirement? Sounds exciting!

On the other hand, I've noticed an appalling lack of attention to detail on the part of far too many professions these days. You'll be missed, I'm sure. (Do I sound older than I am? Or have I finally caught up to my age? It's so hard to tell.)

Carrie K said...

Congratulations on retiring! But sad to hear the state of affairs that will let you go unreplaced. It's going to be as difficult to find anything in these ages as it was in centuries past, the way they're going.

Maven said...

Oy. This day was coming. Sheesh. When is your last day? Any plans for "after?"

KathieB said...

Jealous, jealous. I have a few years to go yet, unless the proverbial ship comes steaming in. Which is unlikely.

Denise~ said...

Without the people who truly know how to handle details the world (or the library in this case) is going to go to hell in a handbasket.

hrrmp - I don't believe in hell but you get my drift.

Computers cannot replace humans.

Bridget said...

Congratulations on your decision!

I shall refrain from further comment regarding the non-necessity of replacing you. 'Cause I just don't have the time or space to even share my immediate thoughts ...

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

Oh, the letters you'll ink,
And the yarns you will buy;
The tea you will drink
And the inks you will try!

Oh, the free time to read
And the music you'll hear;
The cravings you'll feed
In a nicely paced year!


Dorothy said...

One thing I've always respected was the librarian in my area. You've done a good job over the years and old people like me will remember your kind.

Good luck on your new adventure.

Melanie said...

It's frustrating as a cataloguer to see that attitude; once there is nobody left to catch the mistakes they will suddenly realize the necessity for it. Oh well, that's a problem for future thinking managers to solve.