Category: Libraries

The Hogwarts Librarian

Published / by Rachel Ayers

I don’t know about Madam Pince.

Sure, there are bad librarians in the world — we’re only human, after all, and plenty of people don’t know what they’re getting into when they choose their career, including people who think that being a librarian means you read books all day.  And I can see how that might make you bitter and disappointed, especially if you’re nothing but a one-dimensional stereotype.

But librarians are, in spite of persistent stereotypes, largely liberal; proponents of social equality; sneakily subversive champions of free information.

A real librarian would be like, “Hey, since you guys are studying in here anyway, I brought you some pumpkin pasties and hot chocolate.  Let me know if you need any more books!”

A real librarian would be like, “If you have a problem with your young wizard child reading a book from the restricted section, the best strategy is to read the book before or with your child so that you can discuss the social implications of pureblood propaganda, rather than pretending that it’s not part of our history.”

A real librarian would be like, “My goodness, I’d better order more copies of Hogwarts: A History.  It’s really popular this year!”

A real librarian would be like, “Hey, I’m not trying to breathe down your neck, but let me know if you need help finding anything, okay? And don’t worry about shelving these, just set them on this cart when you’re done and I’ll make sure they get back into the right place.”

A real librarian would be like, “Sure, Harry, let’s cross-reference ‘lack of oxygen’ with ‘uncommon charms,’ and see what we can find.  And maybe with ‘magical tools.’  And maybe with ‘herbalism.’  Hmm, let me check ‘muggle studies,’ too, maybe they’ve come up with something….”

A real librarian would be like, “Sorry, Professor Umbridge, I can’t tell you what the kids have been checking out from the library, that would violate their privacy.  But did you see this new book of cat poetry?”

A real librarian would be like, “Well, I try not to let my personal biases influence the way I develop the collection, but I do feel like studies have shown that muggle born wizards are just as talented as pureblood wizards, so I really think the whole Voldemort thing was a big load of Bertie Bott’s bullshit flavour beans.”

A real librarian would be like, “Pssst, Dumbledore’s Army, you can meet in here until you find a better secret place to hide.  I encourage kids of all ages to use this community space.  And here are some books that might help you cast the patronus charm….”

Listen, if Pince doesn’t know how to be a librarian, I’d be happy to apply for the position at Hogwarts.