[Libs-Or] The Definitive Word(s) on Reference

Jerry Curry jerry.w.curry at state.or.us
Wed Oct 3 14:49:45 PDT 2012

I think perhaps, the definitive word on reference can be expressed in the following 1906 poem.  ;-)


From:  The Song of the Library Staff (all six verses). 
By Sam Walter Foss, Librarian of Somerville (Mass.) Public Library Read at the 1906 ALA Annual Conference ...

Also see entry #5 - http://libr.org/juice/issues/vol7/LJ_7.18.html

The Reference Librarian

    See the Reference Librarian and the joys that appertain to her;

    Who shall estimate the contents and the area of the brain to her?

    See the people seeking wisdom from the four winds ever blown to her,

    For they know there is no knowledge known to mortals but is known to her,

    See this flower of perfect knowledge, blooming like a lush geranium,

    All converging rays of wisdom focussed just beneath her cranium;

    She is stuffed with erudition as you’d stuff a leather cushion,

    And her wisdom is her specialty — it’s marketing her mission.

    How they throng to her, all empty, grovelling in their insufficience:

    How they come from her, o’erflooded by the sea of her omniscience!

    And they know she knows she knows things — while she drips her learned theses

    The percentage of illiteracy perceptibly decreases..

    Ah, they know she knows she knows things, and her look is education:

    And to look at her is culture, and to know her salvation.

Jerry Curry
Information Specialist
Oregon State Library 
Salem, OR

jerry.w.curry at state.or.us

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