Eclectic Reading or Who I Really Am

I Was Illiterate

Librarians: My Superheroes

  • April 15, 2018
  • Blog

When I was a kid, I read a book of short stories that haunted me for years. The stories ranged from fantasy to horror, and while I remembered the basic plots of two of the stories, I couldn’t remember the titles or the authors. I tried my best but finally realized that the chances of finding the book were slim to none.

Librarians to the rescue! I contacted one online and she promised to ask on a librarians’ message board.

Within a couple of hours, I had my answer. Another librarian recognized the book immediately from my description. What really surprised me was that all the stories were written by one person—I was so sure it was an anthology. (Which was another reason I couldn’t find it myself.)

Needless to say, I bought the book.

If this sounds like a minor thing, imagine a tiny itch under your scalp. Most of the time it’s not there but sooner or later, every year, sometimes for weeks at a time, it’s there, bothering you, distracting you, and frustrating you at not being able to get rid of it. That’s what that book was to me, an irritating and impossible problem that did all of the above. I wanted to read that book again!

It might have taken two librarians a few minutes to fix this—one to post and one to know the answer—but I don’t think they’ll ever know just how good it felt to read those stories again.

Librarians do more than that, of course, but I’ll be forever grateful to the ones who saved the day with a few deft keystrokes.

(In case you’re interested, it’s Ghosts and More Ghosts, by Robert Arthur.)

  • Jan • April 16, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    I have to admit I’ve always had a hard time finding books and am in awe of librarians. They’re amazing.

    • J. M. Levinton • April 16, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      After all that time, it still feels like a miracle that someone recognized that book. They are totally amazing.

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