A man approached me at the desk with a comment.
Man: “I wanted you to know that I just mailed a donation to the main library because of your staff. They were so nice to me when I came in every day after I got hurt on the job. Now I’m back at work and feeling great. I thought you’d like to know that your staff gave me help and hope.”
We’re sure it’s a bit of a coincidence, but after years of visiting different branches of the San Francisco Public Library, we started to discover that there are some incredibly talented people who work behind the desks, shelve the books and keep order in the world of reference materials. We set out to meet just a few of the astonishing number of musicians, artists and other creative types who dutifully serve the public every day….
Moazzam Sheikh has a theory as to why so many creative types hold down day jobs in the public library system.
“Writers and artists and painters and dancers and photographers, in their bones, they see themselves as marginalized people,” he says. “We are really drawn to people who have never touched a computer or don’t have language skills or young kids who have never read before. We go out of our way to make sure these huge, expensive buildings don’t intimidate them. Every day we come to work and expend our patience, knowledge and caring to the marginalized and lonely people.”
Sheikh, who is a librarian in the art and music department at the Main Library, is also a prolific translator whose works are frequently published in Punjabi and Urdu, and a fiction writer who has put out two short-story collections. The title of his most recent, “Cafe Le Whore,” is a play on the name of his native city of Lahore, Pakistan, and features witty, touching takes on the challenges of immigrant life in the States.
But there is a finer, more literal focus in his work, too.
“I get to work on the 38-Geary,” he says. “I get off on Hyde Street and walk that patch to the library and see that side of life — whores and pimps and war veterans and drug addicts. We cannot turn our back on these people.”
These librarians rock, literally!
Digital Media Guy, Carmichael Library Digital Media Lab
I’m also a student. :)
What is it about the library profession and facial hair? Kudos to Digital Media Guy for his magnificent beard.
In September 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft called out the librarians. The American Library Association and civil liberties groups, he said, were pushing “baseless hysteria” about the controversial Patriot Act. He suggested that they were worried that spy agencies wanted to know “how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel.”
In the case of government surveillance, they are not shushing. They’ve been among the loudest voices urging freedom of information and privacy protections.
–Librarians won’t stay quiet about government surveillance, The Washington Post
Brooklyn Book Festival Reception for Librarians Brooklyn Book Festival - September 21st 2014
The Brooklyn Book Festival welcomes librarians to a special morning event featuring Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude and Dissident Gardens, and New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña for a conversation about the writing life, education and inspiration. Trivia Fact: Lethem dedicated his first novel Gun, with Occasional Music to Ms. Fariña, who was his fourth grade teacher at PS29.
How cool is this? Jonathan Lethem in conversation with his fourth-grade teacher, now the New York City Schools Chancellor.
AISSMS College of Engineering
Librarians’ values are as sound as Girl Scouts’: truth, free speech, and universal literacy. And, like Scouts, they possess a quality that I think makes librarians invaluable and indispensable: they want to help. They want to help us. They want to be of service. And they’re not trying to sell us anything.
— Marilyn Johnson- This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (via marissathelibrarian)
We’ve all heard them. Probably more than once or twice. These are the reactions and responses librarians receive when they introduce themselves to those who aren’t in the field
As a book review editor, I get number five a lot. If only I could read all day!
"Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am”
Your Thursday Librarian Pride!
Tumblarians, your Thursday morning inspiration!
No biggie, just me and my ride.
This librarian drives in style!