League of Librarians

After devouring some turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and topping it all off with fancy desserts, I bet the Thanksgiving break was awesome. I won’t be surprised to see some of us undo our deeds at the gym over the next couple of days.

Anyway, as I was cleaning my room over the break, I came across a card on my desk. It had a picture of a lady in a black sweater, a brown coat, and a brown hat. Her hand, which held a red computer mouse like it is some magical apparatus, had a green-pebble ring on the middle finger. Overall, her facial expression and appearance communicated something like: “I mean business but I can also be very fun if you work with me.”

At least in my mind, the picture portrayed a classic professor at the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The kind of professor who knows her field inside out and would not take cheap talk from anyone—even Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster. At a second glance, I saw the following inscriptions: “League of Librarians,” “True stories from the reference desk,” and “Suzanne Bell—economics & data librarian.” It then occurred to me that I have had this card since freshman year.

Flipping the card over, I saw some descriptive info about Suzanne the librarian. They go as follows:

Subjects – Economics and data

Secret Weapon – Librarian’s Guide to Online Searching

Superpowers – Priestess of database incantations

  • Can bend any database to her will
  • Can banish all-nighters to the negative zone
  • Tackles requests for data without flinching
  • Engages mystical powers to make learning fun
  • Reads professors’ minds

Ally – Pink MacBook

Source of Power – IR Plus & daily visits to the gym

Catchphrase – mens sana in corpore sano (A sound mind in a healthy body)

Secret Lair – Web of Science

Alter Ego  – Factiva

Vulnerability – Can’t ignore sincere requests

Idiosyncrasy – Sings in the stacks

When I first met Suzanne, I was working on my first undergraduate economics paper. Being new to writing papers at the college level, I found her advice on which books and databases to use very helpful. And looking back I can see her being what the back of the card describes her as, especially singing in the stacks—mostly because she speaks in a high and happy tone whenever I greet her at the reference desk.

In addition to its eighty-something year old monumental library, which houses over 3 million volumes, Rochester has got some interesting librarians. By interesting, I mean super cool. It doesn’t get any better when you have librarians with superpowers, allies, idiosyncrasies, secret weapons, alter egos, secret lairs, and what have you. On a more serious note, I find it very helpful that Rochester assigns librarians to every undergraduate class to help students resolve concerns regarding choosing and finding materials.

Thanks for reading. 

About the author

Oswald Codjoe

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