For my academic librarian readers out there, the new school year is right around the corner if it hasn't started already. And you know what that means--new school shoes! But is also means orienting those new freshmen to the incredibly complicated and exciting place called your library. Here's the orientation the Annoyed Librarian would give if she were orienting the freshmen.
Welcome to the library, you cute little freshmen, or should I say "frosh." Do schools still try to use that term to avoid the rampant and horrendously offensive sexism implicit in the term freshmen? No? Oh. Well, never mind then. Welcome to the library, freshmen, and when I say freshmen, I mean freshmen and/or freshpersons. I'm going to orient you to the library today. Our orientation will consist of three points, because I've read that you have the attention span of gnats and know you won't be able to focus long enough to comprehend more than three points, and even three points might be a stretch. So the first point you should remember is:
The Library is the Center of the University!
This is literally true! Take a look at this map. Here's the library, right in the center of campus! And you know why the library is at the center of campus? Because it's the most important building on campus. And if it's the most important building on campus, that means the librarians are the most important people on campus. You might think that your professors are the most important people at the university. You might even think you are the most important people at the university. Well, you're wrong on both counts. The librarians are the most important people. That's why they occupy the most important building. And they're also the most important people because they can teach the about the most important thing you will learn in your four years of college:
Information literacy is more than just being literate about information, whatever that might mean. It means being able to find and evaluate information. And that's what a university education is all about! If finding and evaluating information weren't the most important thing about your university education, then I, as a self-important librarian, wouldn't be telling you so! You might think you're here to learn about actual subjects, like literature, economics, or physics. You might think you're here to learn to think critically about the world and to develop yourself into an educated human being. If you're a complete philistine, you might even think you're here to learn a trade so you can get a job. You would of course be wrong. You're here to learn how to find and evaluate information! The most important thing you will learn in your years here is how to find and evaluate information just like a professional librarian. And that primarily means you're here to learn how to surf the web. You might think you already know how to surf the web. Well, nobody can surf the web like me. I'm a professional! And during your four years here I'm going to teach you some of the most important things you'll ever learn, like boolean searching techniques. Because you can't call yourself educated if you're not familiar with boolean searching. I don't know why anyone ever thought they were educated prior to the invention of the relational database. And if you have trouble with boolean searching, remember:
The Librarians are Here to Help!
Do you see that woman over there with the rather large bottom and the very short hair? She's a "reference librarian." Reference librarians are usually very easy to spot. She wants desparately to be your friend! She lives to do nothing else than help you find and evaluate information. And remember, if the librarians are the most important people on campus, then the reference librarians are the most important among the librarians, because they are the ones who will bend over backwards to help you. Here, look, I'll bend over backwards right now! I bet you didn't think a gal my size could do that, did you? The reference librarians are dying to be your personal information servants during your years here, because we love you more than your mama does.
Orientation ended. You can stop pretending to pay attention now and go back to your pizza.