Here he is, the original Libraryman!
I must confess, this Libraryman is not me. The truth is, the wonderful namesake for my domain name didn't come from my imagination. It is part tribute, part aspiration and part reality. Well, the superhero part sure isn't reality, but being a Library man has become my professional destiny. And I am a close friend of the real Libraryman.
To learn the mysterious story of the original Libraryman as secretly passed on through generations of Librarians, scroll down and read. You'll be glad you did.
It was a snowy winter night when my life changed
forever. It started
An orphan raised by the state, I was doing my
second grade homework in the local public library.
While sitting at one of the study tables, I noticed a nearby
collection of large books on the top shelf of the range in front of me.
Curious at the gigantic, oversized volumes, I stopped working and
climbed the stool in front of the shelves, stretching my arms towards
the huge books.
Then, just as my fingers grazed the spine of the
largest volume, the shelf collapsed.
As I watched, atlases tumbled in slow motion.
The first book opened as it dropped.
A page showing France fell directly across my left arm, just
above the elbow. As I
watched in helpless horror, the thick page bit into my skin, paper
cutting me, lightly at first, then slicing deeper and deeper into muscle
and bone until I stared in disbelief at the sheared stump where my arm
had been. Pain lanced
through me and I looked up—just in time to read “National G--”
crashing into my face. I
fell to the floor with the weight of the world thudding book by book
onto my unconscious body.
And then SHE found me, battered and bleeding.
A librarian she was, an information goddess.
She cried out at my severed arm and pulled me from that
perfidious paper pile. She ran to her phone, called an ambulance, and returned to my
side. Through flashes of
pain I heard her tell me to remain calm, that help was coming. Little did we know that the ambulance dispatched to help me
had skidded off of an icy road and crashed into a bookstore.
She soothed me and I bled.
Minutes passed. Fearing
the worst, she hurried to a bank of shelves someplace behind me.
I heard sound of books being rifled.
She returned seconds later with something she’d found in the
600s. She gave me title and
publishing information but I only vaguely remember the book—Office
Injuries and Their Treatment, I believe it was.
Whatever the title, she stanched the flow of blood
using shredded catalog cards she’d taken from a scratch paper bin.
She then packed my arm, as the book instructed, in the staff room
refrigerator. I passed out.
My last sight was of her beautiful omniscient face smiling down
I woke in the hospital just after surgery. My arm was reattached and I was alive. I later learned that another ambulance had eventually come for me—a full hour after I’d been injured.
That librarian had saved my life.
On the second of my three days in the hospital I
heard talk of complications. The
chemicals and inks from the catalog cards had dissolved into my
bloodstream and had spread throughout my body.
The doctors were hesitant to speculate on the impact these
chemicals would have on my various systems.
And my arm, it seems, had been separated too long from my body.
The doctors were forced to experiment to save my severed limb—a
process no doubt encouraged by my lack of assertive legal guardianship.
They implanted a series of newly designed cybernetic
microprocessors (which, it is a well-known literary fact, all hospitals
have a ready supply of) along the nerve bundles of my severed arm, from
fingertips to shoulder. Sensation
and control were restored.
BUT, as the orphanage gardener,
Grandpappy, used to
say, “Son, that’s only half the potato.”
For you see, as I entered puberty, I began to
develop peculiar talents. Talents
that isolated me from my fellow orphans at St. Cuthbert’s Home for
Unwanted Boys. I developed
the ability to flip through huge books in just seconds.
I could also retain information viewed in just a single glance. Thus was I able to read dozens of titles in mere minutes.
Even today, I am discovering strange new abilities and powers.
Most recently: the ability to use words like “Boolean,” “bibliometric,”
and “conspectus” in everyday conversation.
And, strangely, I now seem to be impervious to paper cuts, too.
As I developed these awesome powers, I decided to dedicate myself to the furthering of the profession and related issues that had saved my life—librarianship, literacy, and information management. And so I am today: combating Ignorance, Illiteracy, and the evils plaguing librarians everywhere. Evils like Obnoxious College Kid, Regurginous Odor Man, Bored Teenager, Cat Hair Lady and Mindless Censor Groupie.
It’s a difficult life, patrolling the nighttime
shadows of libraries across this nation.
But it’s who I am.