In a matter of days, the city of Chicago is going to learn a hard lesson. They are about to be schooled by a catalog of librarians.
Catalog is the collective noun for an assembly of librarians, and soon catalogs of librarians will gather in Chicago.
From June 22 – 27, librarians will invade the Windy City for the annual conference and exhibition of the American Library Association, and Chicago is about to learn that there is no way to tame a catalog of librarians.
“It's to be expected,” said Dagmar Couture, the Senior Commentary Networking Theorist for the ALA.
“Librarians work in the harshest conditions of any of the white-collar professions,” relayed Couture. “Day after day, week after week, they are forced to sit for hours on end shushing people or standing for hours in cramped, dark stacks re-shelving books."
As a result, when librarians are let loose and roam free in a city during the annual ALA conference they tend to go more than a little crazy.
“These are pure party animals,” said Couture. “You can't blame them.”
Pictured at the right: Dagmar Couture, Senior Commentary Networking Theorist for the ALA
The reputation of librarians as partiers dates back to the mid-1800s. Emmett Lee Dickinson wrote about it in his now classic poem "Librarians playeth -- all the while" (below on the left).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
Librarians playeth – all the while –
And when They singeth – then –
Themselves obnoxious They exist –
And they stay up till – Morn –
Wild Instigators – with Glasses –
And long – bacchanal Dates
The Charm us – with their Happy feet
That dance – and longer dance –
Then with Lampshades – atop their Heads –
Continual – with their Noise –
Now They so much as slur their speech –
And just can’t stop Themselves –
By Emily Dickinson:
The Lightning playeth – all the while –
But when He singeth – then –
Ourselves are conscious He exist –
And we approach Him – stern –
With Insulators – and a Glove –
Whose short – sepulchral Bass
Alarms us – tho' His Yellow feet
May pass – and counterpass –
Upon the Ropes – above our Head –
Continual – with the News –
Nor We so much as check our speech –
Nor stop to cross Ourselves –
Yes, catalogs of librarians will soon be gathering in the city of Chicago. We can only hope that the CPD has learned lessons of survival from Orlando, San Francisco, and Las Vegas -- sites of the most recent ALA conventions.
Below: Librarians in Las Vegas