It's hard to understand. Librarians have had such a profound effect on the course of history. (Trust me.) Yet the only librarian anybody knows by name is Dewey.
Melvil Dewey was indeed a praiseworthy man. Most public libraries still use his Dewey Decimal System, although many larger institutions have moved to the Library of Congress classification.
I was raised just north of Chicago. Unlike most of my friends, I have to say that I really didn't like the city. It was too dirty, too cold, and too dangerous. But there were three things I did like: the Lake, the el (the "elevated train" used by commuters), and the museums. When I was a high school kid, sometimes I'd combine all three: hop the el, then ride along the Lake toward either the art museum (Impressionists!), or Chicago's absolutely staggering Museum of Science and Industry.
Some months ago, I was asked to give a career talk to some local elementary kids. I couldn't help but notice that nearly everybody went to see the cops and firefighters. Librarianship just didn't seem to generate as much excitement as a career option, at least for that age group.
By Holly Deni
I'm here to report that rumors of the demise of the paper and ink book, in my opinion, are wildly exaggerated. It is true that electronic books are out there, lurking on the pages of the mail order catalog and taking up air space in the information cloud that now rings the earth. And do you know what? I'm surprised to say that I kind of like them.