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 --
To be continued --