Save the Librarians


Michael McGrorty writes \"In the dusty backroom of a big city library, a woman sits alone, eating an apple for lunch while she balances her checkbook. Like every other month, she struggles with finances; tonight she will have to rent a video instead of going to the theater with friends. Her last vacation was spent with Leo Tolstoy and a folding chair on the balcony of her apartment. She tell herself that it’s okay to wear last year’s lipstick; she can always wring another season out of that old purse. But she’s beginning to lose hope.

The same tragedy is unfolding in hundreds of libraries across the nation: Well-educated professional women and men living hidden lives of sadness and deprivation, all because they chose the library!

In a suburb of Cleveland a lady uses teabags twice and even three times, hoping that her reference patrons won’t notice how thin is the liquid in her chipped celadon mug;

In Seattle a curator of rare books moonlights as a bartender, mixing lurid blender drinks in a smoky den whose habitués have never heard of Chaucer;

In Brooklyn an elderly cataloger decides to go without nylon stockings—and not because it has become the fashion!

Right now, in this great country, librarians are going to bed hungry. That’s right—men and women with advanced degrees are tucking in without a biscuit because of the deplorable pay offered by public institutions these days. Municipal window-washers make more in salary; garbage collectors are comparable Rockefellers. There are many reasons why. But only one consequence for these poor people who have done so much for us.

A terrible thing? Yes. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Since 1975 Save the Librarians has brought light into the dark corners of the librarian existence. Supported completely through the donations of kind individuals, Save the Librarians has given new hope to people whose world would otherwise be an unrelieved hell of Harry Potter questions.

Won’t you join us?

Your contribution of ten dollars a month can provide an upgrade to the Orchestra Section for an opera-loving archivist with bad eyesight who has been forced to sit in the balcony;

Twenty dollars will buy a new pair of pumps for a young IT specialist who broke the heel off her best shoes chasing down a bus;

Fifty dollars will keep a library manager in anti-depressants for an entire year.

And even if you can’t make a pledge to contribute monthly, any amount will help. Just a few dollars can buy earplugs for the staff of a Young Adult room, or rubber gloves for the poor wretch who has the sleeping drunk duty. Remember: To you it’s only a few dollars; to the librarian it will seem like so much more!

So take a moment to show your gratitude for these hard-working, forgotten professionals. We can’t expect the government to pay them adequately, and most people just don’t care. Join with us to Save the Librarians.


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