#TBT By 1920, Ellis had already cemented its reputation as a place of magic and mystery. Hopefully it’s easier for you to navigate than a crystal ball, though! The reading rooms, at least, should be a familiar place – we’re still making jokes that were old in 1920!

These images can be found in the Digital Savitar.

- Rebecca B.

Some Things Your Local Librarians Would Like You To Know

It is not a stupid question. Even if it is a stupid question, we have been thoroughly trained to answer your question without judgement or second-guessing. Besides, we’re mostly just glad you’re not asking us about the noise the printer is making again.

There are probably (at least) two desks in the library. One is where you check out books and is mostly staffed by people wearing nametags that say “Circulation Clerk.” These people can answer your questions about damaged or missing books, fines, and how many forms of identification we’ll need if you want to get a library card but your mailing address is in Taiwan. The other one is closer to the books and computers and is mostly staffed by people wearing nametags that say “Librarian.” These people can answer your questions about spider extermination, how to rent property to the United States Postal Service, and the number of tropical island nations in which you could theoretically establish the first United States Embassy. We would love to answer these questions for you. It would be a nice change from the printer.

We probably own a 3D printer by now. 3D printers, are cool, right? Please, please come use our 3D printer, it’s so lonely.

We spent a lot of money to hire this woodworker to come and teach a class at the library which you can attend for free. You will probably be the only person between the ages of ten and fifty in attendance, but your presence will fill the librarian with an unnameable joy. They will float back to their manager in a daze. “A young person came to my program,” they will say. You will have made their entire job worthwhile.

Every time you ask us for a book, movie, or music recommendation, a baby librarian gets their first cardigan.

Somewhere in the library, there is a form. If you fill out this form with your name and library card number and the details of the thing you are looking for, we will find you the thing. Sometimes the answer is “the thing is in Great Britain and they will not send it to us,” but more often the thing will just appear on hold for you, and one day you will pick up a copy of that out-of-print book you never thought you would read and maybe you will say, “Wow, the library is amazing,” and the librarian’s heart will glow. 

Please bring back book #2. The rest of its series misses it very much.

Five dollars is not a large library fine. Believe me, before I started working in libraries, I too wondered how someone could sleep at night, knowing they owed money to the library. When we laugh as you sheepishly apologize for your $2.50 in overdue fees, we are not mocking you, we are thinking of the ten people we sent to debt collection already today.

We really don’t care why you’re checking out Fifty Shades of Grey. Maybe you have a specifically-themed ironic bachelorette party to plan. Maybe you’re working on a thesis paper about mainstream media’s depiction of female sexuality. Maybe you just got curious. We will give you the benefit of the doubt. 

Whatever you’re smoking in the family restroom, please stop.

Somewhere on the library’s website, buried under “Links” or “Research” or “On-line Resources,” is a page that a librarian spent a month’s worth of work on. It contains many links to websites you thought everyone knew about, and one to a page that you could never have imagined existed that perfectly solves a problem you never expected to be resolved. 

Imagine the kind of person who would think to themselves, “Library school sounds like a thing I should do.” For the most part, you are imagining the kind of person who is now a librarian. We want very much to help you, but we’re not entirely sure how to do that unless you ask. You are not bothering us. Please, come and say hi.

The signs libraries
  • Aries:A Beautiful small room made entirely of wood and built in bookcases
  • Taurus:a long hallway down to a narrow line of neat books and a single leather chair
  • Gemini:a giant building with many levels and wide windows beautifully organized
  • Cancer:a secret door that leads to tiny space jam packed with books
  • Leo:one big room with fluffy plush carpet and dark wood bookshelves with velvet chairs scattered about the area
  • Virgo:a glass alcove tucked away in a forest under many trees, with books scattered about inside.
  • Libra:a small room with flowers painted on the walls and shelves shoved in corners, pillows on the floor and a soft glow from the light above
  • Scorpio:an eerie hall that leads to a room made with dark wood and dim lighting, somehow cozy with comfortable chairs and an assortment of books
  • Sagittarius:a vibrant library with many colors, and ceilings with wild vines growing down
  • Capricorn:a tall glass building with smooth elevators and clean halls, organized shelves and beautiful art on the walls
  • Aquarius:a wild room with a hill up to the top where there's a huge window, a giant chair and a two bookshelves on each side of the chair
  • Pisces:an all white library, the shelves the walls the floors and the chairs, the only vibrancy comes from the books and the light from the windows, somehow calming
I love a library. The idea of reading books for free didn’t kill the publishing business, on the contrary, it created nations of literate and passionate readers. Shared interests and the impulse to create.

David Byrne turns his own books into a lending library

Complement with this photographic love letter to libraries and the marvelous poem “If Librarians Were Honest.”

(HT Open Culture)


I got carried away with the photography on this one, especially considering that (yet again) most of these are more diagram than map, but hey! They’re really neat.

Kircher’s work is elaborately and beautifully illustrated, and well worth a more thorough look. You can see find more info and images here and here.

BookKircher, Athanasius. Athanasii Kircheri … Mundus subterraneus, in XII libros digestus; quo divinum subterrestris mundi opificium, mira ergasteriorum naturæ in eo distributio, verbo pantámorphou Protei regnum, universæ denique naturæ majestas & divitiæ summa rerum varietate exponuntur. Abditorum effectuum causæ acri indagine inquisitæ demonstrantur; cognitæ per artis & naturæ conjugium ad humanæ vitæ necessarium usum vario experimentorum apparatu, necnon novo modo, & ratione applicantur. Amstelodami, apud J. Janssonium & E. Weyerstraten, 1665.


I love these issues of The Science Fiction Fan, ca. 1939-40.  These are nice examples of hectography in fabulous condition.

The Science Fiction Fan. Ed. Olon F. Wiggins. Vol. 4, No.9, Whole 45. April 1940. 

The Science Fiction Fan.  Ed. Olon F. Wiggins.  Vol.4, No.10, Whole 46. May 1940.

The Science Fiction Fan.  Ed. Olon F. Wiggins.  Vol.4, No.5, Whole 41. December, 1939. 



This library has a book worm problem….