I was recently informed by Norman D. Stevens, Director of the Molesworth Institute, that I would be the recipient of the 2009 Edmund Lester Pearson Library Humor award. The Molesworth Institute started issuing the award in 2000. The bit of levity which triggered the award was a post I made on the Library History Buff Blog about The Old Librarian’s Almanack (1909). Pearson was the author of the almanack which was actually a hoax. I am, however undeserving, deeply honored by the award.
Library humor which is generated by librarians is one of those aspects of our library profession that shows that we are not only human but that we are a fun bunch of people. There have been several posts on the Library History Buff Blog that indicate that we can poke fun at ourselves, and indeed have been doing so for many decades. In addition to The Old Librarian’s Almanack, the posts include Charles Lummis and the Bibliosmiles, William Fitch Smyth's Little Lyrics for Librarians, and Sam Walter Foss's Song of the Library Staff.
I came across a fun little book recently entitled Library Levity by Nina Napier (Dogwood Press, 1946). In the forward to this book Margaret J. Clay writes: "... reading this little book makes all the " musts" and all the importances including yours and mine seem faintly ridiculous. In a word it is a corrective, renewing our sense of proportion and doing so in the happiest way by laughing with us instead of at us." That's the value of library humor in a nutshell.
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