Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Vote Librarian

Just realised the political affiliation of Gary Johnson, very much the St Jude of the American presidential election.

He is a libertarian. Not, as I thought, a librarian.

Which is a shame. Librarians rarely get to the higher positions of political life. Power goes to career politicians, lawyers and, occasionally, chemists or actors.

A librarian president would, I think, have a radical effect on the Constitution. The First Amendment, for instance, would have to be changed, to say you had the right to free speech as long as you whispered.

And the Second Amendment would say Americans could bear arms as long as they didn't use them. Bloody noisy things, guns.

But what if it were a libertarian librarian? Perhaps people would be allowed to put their own books on the shelves - and not necessarily in accordance with the Dewey decimal system. That way chaos lies.

But for me the clincher is this. If George W Bush and Tony Blair had been librarians we would never have invaded Iraq. They would have been too busy working out whether the "dodgy dossier" were politics, geography or fiction.

Vote Librarian for a safer world.


  1. Actually we really need Terry Pratchett's Librarian!

  2. Dewey was the Republican presidential candidate who lost to FDR in 1944. I hope this helps with your political analysis.

  3. ....and the Dewey Decimal system was invented by one Melvil Dewey (no relation) in 1876.

    It's a brilliant system for public lending libraries, whose stock tends to be eclectic. It's easy to use (unless you have dyscalculia) and easy to explain. Specialist libraries tend to find it unworkable because they need finer and more numerous sub-classifications than are practicable with Dewey.

    I remember one very strange system earnestly advocated by a lecturer, which classified literary authors, for example, by their date of birth. When an entire class failed to come up with Shakespeare's birth year, boy was he mad. He thought we were taking the piss, but it didn't dampen his enthusiasm.

    Back in the 1970s there was a series of adverts for Smirnoff vodka on the theme of "I used to be....before I discovered Smirnoff". One showed a boozed-up female, scantily dressed, feet up on a library desk, duly brandishing a bottle. That was the Librarian. I've known a few like that.

  4. My favourite book classifications have spotted in charity shops - one being by Width of Spine (Thin and Thick) and the other by gender (of potential reader not author).

    1. Some neighbours of ours arranged their books by height; shortest at each end and tallest in the middle. I don't think they were librarians, or maybe they were and this was a form of irony?

  5. The Theology Faculty lending library at Pusey House in the seventies used to classify them according to height.

  6. I've never thought about it - which goes to show how my education has missed out. I pile the books up on the floor and hope to remember which pile contains the book that I need - it works after a fashion until I trip over a pile and it knocks over the rest. When they have to be reclassified all over again.

  7. Circa 1983, two friends of mine were looking round the branch of 'Forbidden Planet' (Science Fiction) in Brighton. When they asked about how the books were organized, the rather dreamy response was "alphabetically ... by colour". I suppose that means aubergine comes before azure.

  8. I'm a retired librarian. Does that qualify me for high office forthwith?


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