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The Laws of the Library

At Excelsior the other night, Sarah was telling a childhood story of the Evil Censoring Librarian, who would not pull a Victor Hugo novel off a high shelf for her "because you'll never finish it." Lawrence (a librarian) and I both gasped. "That violates one of the Laws of Library Science!" I shrieked.

Sarah said, "What are the other Laws of Library Science?"

And Lawrence and I looked at each other. "Uh... Well, they're good rules," we mumbled, "and that definitely violates one of them."

Without further ado:

The Five Laws of Library Science

by S.R. Ranganathan

  • Books are for use.
  • Every reader his (or her) book.
  • Every book its reader.
  • Save the time of the patron.
  • The library is a growing organism.

I got my Field Guide to Surreal Botany entry out of the last one, plus a short story no one has published yet.

Also, for IBARW: That which everyone else has already linked to, I feel, but the author is a librarian, Aryan Elves and Damsels Distressed: a Librarian-Writer’s View of Bias in American SF

God, I love librarians.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
Awesome rules!
Aug. 9th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
I sure I couldn't recite the five laws from memory on demand, even though I read Ranganathan's stuff in at least two classes. On the other hand, I could probably recreate them given enough time, a pad, and a pencil.
Aug. 9th, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC)
Well, Lawrence and I got a couple of them, with struggle and time.
Aug. 9th, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
And here I thought they were "The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: (1) Silence; (2) Books must be returned no later than the last date shown, and (3) the nature of causality must not be interfered with."
Aug. 9th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Heh. What's that from? A book, or your brain?
Aug. 9th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
I don't remember which Discworld book they appeared in first; probably Guards! Guards!. (Yup; just checked in the Pratchett Quote File.)

Guards! Guards! is a pretty good starting point for the Discworld books, and one of my favorites as well.
Aug. 9th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
I read a fair number of Pratchetts back in high school, but I confess I haven't kept up... in spite of being deeply enamored of him when I've seen him at conventions.
Aug. 9th, 2008 08:06 am (UTC)
I still reckon that unpublished story is one of the best pieces of short fiction I've ever read -- in a workshop or anywhere else.
Aug. 9th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
How I wish you were an editor. :)
Aug. 9th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
Don't give up on LS -- the day will come when your readers will be glad you persevered.

When Hub re-opens try there, if you haven't already. It doesn't pay pro-rate, but it does have 8000+ subscribers.
Aug. 9th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip! I'll give it a shot when the time comes (and the market at it's at now let's it go).
Aug. 9th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
*sidles up*

Have Iiiiii seen this story?
Aug. 10th, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)
I feel there's some hilarious joke about hopping trains to Toronto in here, but... uhm, no. Would you like to see this story?
Aug. 10th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)

I would, if I may.
Aug. 10th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
Actually... you may have seen this story, now that I think about it. It was an Editor's Choice on the OWW at one point. But it's been through some rewritage since then. I'll pop it over to ya if you still want.
Aug. 10th, 2008 04:56 am (UTC)
Please. :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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