It's high time I had a guest post! I suggested having them long ago and then nothing happened... until now. I have a good friend, Aldous Maximus, who wrote a provocative post that I really enjoyed. With his permission I have posted it below:
I went to the library this week and was once again reminded and entirely split over the magnificent question that entreats me every time I need a book- Should I look for the book myself, or should I ask the librarian for help?
At surface level it appears to be a cursory query, but with necessary explication its truth is unraveled like the tootsie roll at the center of a tootsie pop. To preface, let me say I don't like the idea of relying on others to do things I am fully capable of doing myself. I am selling myself short when I have an opportunity to learn something valuable and instead I just have someone else do it for me. I have come to Earth to learn and experience, something that will be entirely lost if I let others do all the learning for me. There's some strange reason why I feel it's part of my democratic responsibility as a competent American to know how the Dewey Decimal system works and to be able to find my own sources in the library. Knowledge is power, and the acquisition of knowledge is the acquisition of power, be it for righteous or wicked loyalties. Finding information in the library is an ability to acquire intelligence. If I can't figure out how the library works how will I ever be able to become a contributing member of society? Does that sound far fetched? Hardly! I can certainly contribute without ever setting foot in a library, but imagine how much more I can benefit my fellow men and women when I am equipped with an arsenal of self-discovered knowledge that is personally meaningful to me!
Those are my arguments for finding a book myself in the library. Now for the rebuttal.
Time is perhaps the world's greatest commodity in our current decade. Time is not renewable and those who make the most of their time are generally more happy and successful than their neighbors (at least by my introspection). The squandering of time is a terrible thing because it is only finite and cannot ever be given back. I will never get a chance to live November 21st 2009 again. So why would I spend it looking for a book that a trained librarian can find in half the time? Wouldn't I be better served if I spent 10 minutes asking a helper for a book and 50 minutes researching the book than I would if I spent 20 minutes looking for the book and 40 minutes researching it? Libraries provide jobs for people, both highly skilled Library Science degree holders and students trying to pay for their education in geography or nutritional science or something. Is it prideful to deny them an opportunity to help me because I think I can do it on my own?
Oh the questions I could ask! This debate rages in my heart and my mind each time I enter the double doors of the phenomenal public institution known as a 'library' or a 'house of intelligence.' Which school of thought do you follow? Would you prefer to forsake your God-given ability to learn and instead let a librarian do the work for you, or would you rather deny that librarian an opportunity to save you time and instead waste your resources finding, not doing? Would you like to gain knowledge and take control of your time through conquering the library or would you prefer to allow a helpful service person to use his/her trained expertise to save your resources for others? -Aldous Maximus
Well, I haven't fully formulated my opinion yet. I usually spend five minutes looking for a book on my own, then give up and ask the librarian. I think Aldous brings up some intriguing points, however. I'm intereseted in your thoughts.