Monday, April 8, 2013

Pullman Pulls No Punches in Defending Librarians

In my day job, I went over a book on Philip Pullman, British author of The Golden Compass and other best-selling fantasy novels. While perusing the biography, I was delighted to discover that Pullman is an outspoken advocate of librarians. 

Philip Pullman, best-selling novelist and defender of librarians.

With libraries in England facing severe cuts, a council member suggested that volunteers run the libraries instead. In response to this councilman, Pullman said:

Does he think the job of a librarian is so simple, so empty of content, that anyone can step up and do it for a thank-you and a cup of tea? Does he think that all a librarian does is tidy the shelves? And who are these volunteers? Who are these people whose lives are so empty, whose time spreads out in front of them like the limitless steppes of central Asia, who have no families to look after, no jobs to do, no responsibilities of any sort, and yet are so wealthy that they can commit hours of their time every week to working for nothing? Who are these volunteers? Do you know anyone who could volunteer their time in this way? If there’s anyone who has the time and the energy to work for nothing in a good cause, they are probably already working for one of the voluntary sector day centers or running a local football [soccer] team or helping out with the league of friends in a hospital. What’s going to make them stop doing that and start working in a library instead? 

Thank you, Mr. Pullman, for boldly defending us librarians (and librarians-to-be)!

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