Friday, April 16, 2010

The Librarian in Cuba. The Librarian in America. Compared.

Here's an interesting view of a librarian from a young Cuban woman, "Librarian or Overseer?", by Maria Matienzo Puerto.

Here is what she thinks about librarians:

"there were once overseers with certain levels of education who were hired by slave owners to whip the black slaves and thus ensure that sugarcane was cut ... if there’s someone who can embody this type of personality in its full sense, it’s that of a librarian."
Wow. Another fan.

Maria sees her local UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - yeah, I had to look it up) librarian as akin to a slave overseer, cracking her whip to keep everyone in line.

Here is her library internet experience in Cuba, and my American comparisons in italics:

In Cuba, internet searching is called “information recovery.”
In America, we call it "com-pyoo-ter?" or "shutthefuckupoldman and gimmeone."

In Cuba, internet use if for 45-minutes.
In America, it's 15 minutes without an official government authorized usage tracking identity card. Or "library" card.

In Cuba you need to turn over an itemized list of the sites you visited to the librarian.
In America, we have software that alerts the librarians when you visit forbidden sites. And then we approach the offender in a bold manner and announce to all that, the person has violated all of civilized society and is probably a sex offender, but also, probably, was just trying to find pictures of kitties on Google Images.

In Cuba, the librarian begins announcing that the library will be closing a full hour before the actual closing time.
In America, we start announcing the closing time about 15 minutes before we open: "The Library will be closing at 5:00. Yes, we know that is hours from now. But you never fucking listen!"

Just to let you know, Maria, librarians are the same everywhere. The Internet is a valuable resource and we don't like anyone to waste it. The Internet is hauled up from deep in the earth on long conveyor belts maintained by American children. After many years of working in these "data mines," the children are weak and unable to perform any other tasks so we send them to school where they can sleep and dream of "dropping tracks" which will bring them the fame they desire. They sleep as in a chrysalis, awaiting to emerge as splendid butterflies because in America everyone is famous and makes lots of money.

In defense of your local librarian, she was probably just bitchy because you were not doing anything that would allow her to call the police. In America, it's not a productive day unless we can call the cops to haul some idiot off to jail. So don't fret, Maria, libraries are the same all over.