advocacy librarian

Last week I was a reference for a colleague who is escaping academic librarianship for a PhD program at Virginia Tech in Instructional Design. The woman who owns the house my dear colleague wants to room in and I played mobile phone tag for a few days before conversing with one another. Speaking with her was lovely. We developed instant rapport because her home in Roanoke shares part of my last name. Tinker Creek runs through it.

The Tinker Creek?” I asked.

“The Annie Dillard Tinker Creek?” I asked again.

She said yes.

She asked her questions about how long I knew Ms. ______ and in what capacity. And followed up with more questions. I answered them all. She threw me for a loop when she asked “Now what question didn’t I ask that I should have?” And I told her that she caught me off guard. Now that I’m better prepared for that kind of question when it appears again I’ll ask: “What do you most admire about _____?”

And I can talk about how much I admire _____’s courage for leaving a sure-thing tenure-track job in academia during a recession to improve herself, increase her skills and learning, and to follow her dreams.

The lady who resides on Tinker Creek also asked me about libraries. She wanted to know what I thought about them. What the future held for them.

And I said: “Oh, you hear, or read about these people who predict that libraries will be empty in fifteen years, but frankly, and excuse my bluntness, but that’s a bunch of caca. There will always be books. There is room for print books and ebooks to co-exist. Far too many book lovers exist to let print media and libraries fall by the wayside.” And while I have no real statistics to prove this, the demographics of people who read ebooks and print books are likely very different.

She admitted that our conversation left her trembling. She is a reader, frequenter of libraries and book lover. As a book sensualist, the feel of the book in her hand was a large part of the reading experience. We talked about both being Kindle-owners. I use mine sporadically; she uses hers never.

And so, dear reader, I have, once again, not let an opportunity pass in which I advocate the viability of libraries and print media. Long shall we reign.

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