Tuesday, December 06, 2005

dueling librarians

My second favorite reference librarian works at my local library branch. He’s smart, funny, and does me the compliment of understanding why I might be curious about something. Over the years he’s looked up all sorts of obscure and not so obscure information for me, always with a grin and a “Well now, that is a good question.”

Not only is he good at reference but he’s recommended several wonderful novels and biographies that kept me sane when I desperately needed a break from academics. In short, this is a Very Important Person in my day-to-day life.

Alas, my second-favorite reference librarian will be working at another library in 2006, so my remaining time with him is sadly limited. When he broke this news to me, he also issued one last challenge: was there anything else I wanted him to look up?

Now, as it happens, I’ve always wondered about the death of John Bellairs. Bellairs was a truly amazing author, one with oodles of research behind his novels, as well as great turns of phrase and he wrote books that I can’t put down. (The covers were all done by Edward Gorey, need I say more?) I knew that he had died suddenly, but not his age or cause of death.

“All right, SFRL, what was the cause of death?”

SFRL leaped into the fray. Within a minute he had dug up all sorts of references and information, but nothing on the cause of death. The digging continued. After five minutes, another librarian walked up. AL sized up the situation, and began to dig, too. In less then ten seconds, he had found the answer, while SFRL was still looking.

“What? Where? How did you--?”

I love librarians.

By the by, Bellairs died from a heart attack at age 53.

4 comments:

Doug said...

Not to minimize the mad skillz of SLRM, but a 30 second Google search on John Bellairs cause of death revealed:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6459483&pt=John%20Bellairs

labbai said...

I'd like to work in a library...It's about books, eh? All those beautiful, nice smelling piles of books...jihaa!

Bartleby said...

Conan was a librarian, wasn't he?

No, wait, he was a barbarian. Rhymes, but not the same thing, not at all.

Well, never mind, then ... carry on!

Joe said...

Bartleby: Come to one of my staff meetings sometime. It's not so far at all.

(Although I would be a lot more comfortable if the ALA would take a stronger anti-loincloth stand.)