Nice New York Times profile of Ask NYPL reference librarian Matthew J. Boylan, aka “the Magician.”
“In a certain sense, the work I do begins where the Internet ends,” Mr. Boylan said. “Certain things you can’t find with Google"
library system’s former president, Paul LeClerc, nicknamed him “the
Magician” for his ability to take on complicated questions and stumpers,
and find answers in the library’s stacks, microfilm and other
guess you could say I’m well positioned,” Mr. Boylan said. “I sit near
millions of books and I have access to 650 databases above and beyond
the open Internet.”
turned to a full queue of emailed questions and browsed it like a menu.
There were questions about the Laotian general Vang Pao, old
tuberculosis hospitals on Long Island and a Grafton-Middlesex fox hound
match in Virginia in 1905. Someone wanted to know if the city of
Chemnitz was part of the kingdom of Saxony in 1899; another wanted to
borrow the latest season of “Boardwalk Empire.”
Love the stack of print reference books on his desk.
“…Library buildings may also seek to incorporate within
their overall aesthetic some visual statement of the importance of their
contents: as storehouses of knowledge, as lasting memorials of human
achievement, or as publicly accessible gateways to education and
We’re looking forward to meeting lots of Tumblarians at the
VALA conference in Melbourne this week. Did you know the world’s first
full-length narrative feature film was actually filmed in Melbourne? ‘The Story of
the Kelly Gang’ (1906) traces the life of the legendary bushranger and
outlaw Ned Kelly.
Based on the prompts: “you said Shakespeare was dumb while checking out Fight Club and I am ready to Fight You” and “someone left a comment card in the suggestions box that says ‘the reference librarian is super cute’ and now all of the reference librarians are arguing over who it’s for”
Blake is a librarian. And with that great power comes great responsibility.
it means he’s bitten his tongue so many times he’s not even fazed when he
tastes blood, because of people who are reading shitty things he wouldn’t
recommend in a hundred years.
it’s what he does, and he lives for those who are actually interested when they
lean on his desk and ask for recommendations. That sort of people make him
forget all about assholes like the blonde who drops by his desk one day,
looking to check out Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Palahniuk’s Fight Club.
far as literature choices go, this one isn’t the worst but Bellamy can’t help
but to feel wary of the stranger who’s currently toying with her phone. He
doesn’t trust people who read patriarchal shit like Fight Club in their free
time so he focuses on her other book.
huh?” he asks, swiping the books over the scanner.
girl looks up from her phone and wrinkles her nose in disgust. “Shakespeare is
dumb. This,” she points at Fight Club, “is what I’m reading for fun.”
stomach plunges and despite the fact that he can keep quiet in the face of
immense stupidity ten out of eleven times, this one is the eleventh and he
can’t help himself.
you seriously saying Shakespeare is dumb and you’re reading Fight Club for
he’s got her full attention, her blue eyes glaring at him in a way that makes
him seriously question whether glaring daggers is a metaphor or a thing that
actually happens, and when she speaks, it’s with a low and threatening voice
that sends shivers down his spine.
got a problem with that?”
squares his shoulders, returning the glare. “Actually, I do. Fight Club is the
worst piece of trash I’ve ever read. It’s not a book, it’s a word-vomit about a
bunch of white guys whose daddies didn’t love them and now they’re self-pitying
themselves being nostalgic for patriarchal power.”
not what I heard,” the blonde counters, her phone completely forgotten as her
hands curl into fists on her sides. She’s actually pretty frightening, Bellamy
will give her that. But definitely not the sort of person who’d read Fight
Club. “I heard it’s a metaphor for
liberating ourselves from the chains of capitalism.”
probably need a hearing aid, then.”
girl slams her fist on his desk, seething with rage. “What is your problem?”
problem is that whoever recommended that,” Bellamy narrows his eyes at the
book, “to you is an asshole you shouldn’t trust.”
boyfriend recommended that.”
so he’s just insulted this girl’s boyfriend. God, if he gets fired, he’s going
to slap himself for being so stupid because there is no way she’s not going to
file a complaint now.
kick his ass.
the latter, she seems like the type.
a reason why the first rule of the fight club is that you don’t talk about the
fight club, Princess. It’s because it’s such a shitty book.”