Friday, August 31, 2007

What librarians can learn from The Shawshank Redemption

The effing editorial staff here at the box ("the box" is what we call the building where we publish the.effing.librarian here in Brooklyn, NY, USA, Earth) have been reading all of your letters, and the most asked questions are "is the effing librarian in prison?" and "when the effing librarian was in prison, what did he do to get put in?" and "when is he getting out because I want to have his babies?"

Now I don't know what kind of impression I give that you would think that I am a criminal, but I can tell you here and now, that I am not a criminal, am not currently an inmate of any correctional facility, nor have I ever been incarcerated in any prison or jail.

But since we are on the subject of prison...

Warning! The following post deals with mature themes and should only be viewed by adults who giggle when they hear the word, "penal."

Let's face it, if you hang out in the library, there's nothing I can tell you that's gonna keep you safe if you end up in prison. Except,

  1. Get the hell out of the library now and start lifting weights.
  2. Practice hiding things so they won't be found during a cavity search.
  3. And learn how to turn invisible.
Yeah, that last one. Get working on that. I think I saw an "invisibility cloak" for sale on eBay. And make sure you hide it good (see tip #2).

But what I learned from The Shawshank Redemption is that everyone should have a useful skill. In that movie, Andy was good with accounting and that kept him from being attacked, well not always, because he was pretty, but it protected him eventually.

And I think database searching skills can work the same way, as a skill that can be traded for protection. Searching for court cases or judges home addresses or plans for how to turn your underpants into a meth lab might be useful to somebody who could keep you safe.

And this is how we should promote library databases to students, as a useful skill that can minimize being assaulted in prison.

No, I'm just kidding. I think. Yes, I am kidding. But boy, it would sure get their attention if you began your instruction with, "Now what I'm going to show you today may keep you from being assaulted in prison." And then you can laugh because you know it's a lie: ain't nothing gonna stop nothing. But while they're stunned, sign them up for library cards.

Everyone's always looking for ways to get students to use more library databases. This could be the trick.
No, not "could be," is, dammit. Hey, I'm just trying to help. Yes, I call this helping.

Okay, rape isn't funny. Unless you're Norm MacDonald, then it's ridiculous.