The Lib-rare-ian : Ann Lazim, Katie Day, and Nadine Bailey In Conversation With Dalbir Madan

By Samarrah Sivakumar, Grade 9

Librarians read you like an open book, all while helping you craft your own life story, and ironically, helping you choose which open books you want to read. 

Shushes louder than noise, spectacles blurrier than sight, and top knots taller than towers. The librarian is a character of many contradictions. Or so it seems. 

The reality is that librarians are more than guardians of words and keepers of silence. In fact, most of their jobs aren’t in the description.

Therapists, psychologists, cheerleaders, data analysts, mind openers, confidants, life coaches. These are all the unspoken, unsung roles that librarians must play. 

“The job of a librarian is not simply to manage books. It’s to grow readers,” stated Ann Lazim, a retired librarian associated with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education in London for 29 years, during the panel discussion A Librarian’s Dream moderated by Dalbir Kaur Madan, the founder of the One Up Library, Book Studio, and Learning Lab, Delhi at the Neev Literature Festival 2023. 

Where do you go when you want an escape from the endless pressure of academic life? Where do you run off to when the story of your real life is not gripping enough, or when you need to seek solace from fleeting worlds you encounter in books? The library. Why is the library this safe haven? Thanks to the librarians in charge of it. They’re almost like the “fun aunts” of a school; they pamper you and lavish you with love, words, and the gift of their company. 

Worlds cannot be explored until they are discovered. Librarians create new worlds for people who wish to tour them through sections in a library. For example, Katie Day, the teacher-librarian at Tanglin Trust School, Singapore, noted that the whole category of Sports in a library is simply a world created and classified by the librarian, perfectly tailor made to the interests and passions of her students. The modern librarian is a wise mind with a young soul, who knows her enthusiastic readers well. From making reality seem a little more tolerable, to providing an escape from reality, to creating a new reality altogether, librarians have an important role to play in connecting readers to new portals, almost reminiscent of the Master of the Multiverse of Madness with more layers to uncover than what meets the eye. 

I was not the only person who was inspired by this session. Here’s what an audience member had to say about it, “It may be designed to be a session by librarians for librarians, but it has something for everyone who attends. It’s always nice to gain new knowledge from experts in such events.” 

A member of the audience asks a question

Guess we have one more job to add to the list: opener of not only books and minds, but hearts as well. 

 

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