Every once in a while a news story catches my eye, one that makes me think that Librarians are like Indiana Jones, Noah Wyle in The Librarian, or the comic-book Rex Libris. Certainly not in a figurative sense but in a direct action for action kind of way. An Associated Press news-story reveals that a letter written by René Descartes had been in Haverford College holdings since 1902. The work was disregarded for over a century; until a Librarian unearthed the unknown treasure. And the world (or just France) quickly paid attention.
The problem with this story and others based in reality: the Librarian goes unnamed. Instead Haverford’s President Steve Emerson gets all the fame. There’s nice photo of Steve surrendering the letter to the Institut de France’s Chancellor Gabriel de Broglie. We all know that the Chancellor is going to hand the letter to the library for preservation, cataloging, storage, access rights, digitization, etc. These guys are faces taking credit. Moreover, President Steve was in Paris for the ceremony, he was given a trip to France! I bet the Librarian was not afforded such a luxury. Maybe next time they’ll get the story right.
UPDATE: Associated Press story, naming and quoting Librarian John Anderies as Librarian extraordinaire!