The word 'librarian' conjures up images of a forbidding protector of ancient tomes, a crone with a too-tight bun, eyeglasses dangling from a chain around her neck, and a finger pressed to lips pursed in an eternal shhhhhhhh.

Library school? People scoff. Either they wonder why someone would need lessons in the Dewey Decimal system or imagine arcane sorcery done beneath universities, inducting new adepts into the mysteries. It seems more 10th century than 21st.

But librarians are more than they seem, as comfortable online as behind dusty shelves, closet radicals bent on making knowledge available to everyone. Long before devotees of online piracy took up the cry "information wants to be free," librarians were providing it for free. And as zealots of every kind know, dangerous ideas lurk in books.

Do you have what it takes to be a librarian? Read on.


Unless otherwise noted, all written content © Holly Black, 2002. Photographs © their individual creators.

This page is created for educational purposes only.