Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top Librarian

Top Librarian, the exciting new reality TV show from Plabnox Cures Programming (PCP), exposes the politics and tensions rife in the library community within a competitive setting. As on similar shows like Top Chef and Project Runway, personalities clash and body heat rises regularly on Top Librarian. Each episode features a challenge in which the bibliophilic contestants must vie to win by organizing a cart filled with various books according to the dictates of the host. Once time is called, the librarians must wheel their carts down a runway for scrutiny by the trio of Librarian Evaluators. At the end of each episode, the losing contestant is elimated with the dreaded phrase, "Please turn in your library card. You have been taken out of circulation."

A recent fortnight-long timed “Classification and Cataloging Challenge” mandated that the librarians catalog a cart of recent acquisitions using the Dewey Decimal System. Special guest Evaluator, the State of Vermont Department of Libraries Senior Cataloguing Coordinator, censured one contestant’s shelving of a volume: “I think you played it safe with this monograph. You chose to put it in Philosophy, but you really could have wowed us by placing it elsewhere—perhaps in Linguistics or Semiotics. The top row of your cart is interesting, but once I get down to the third or fourth row, your cataloging becomes predictable and routine. I was expecting more from a librarian with your skill set.” Such scathing remarks are commonplace on Top Librarian. In a particularly thrilling episode, the librarians were thrown a curveball when they were asked to catalog periodicals.

The season will climax with a competition in New York City, 2 months after PCP dumps at each contestant’s domicile 30,000 uncataloged volumes to be processed and shelved. The librarians are responsible both for transporting the cataloged collections to New York City and locating a proper storage facility with archival-grade HVAC. The season winner gets to keep his or her collection in the aforementioned storage facility , as well as a 1000-yard roll of mylar dust jacket preservation material, 2500 cataloguing cards, and 2500 adhesive spine labels, generously provided by Brodart, to start his or her own lending library. A reunion episode will document the immolation of the losers’ collections in a blazing conflagration on an Alaskan Wildlife Reserve.

Applicants for Top Librarian must possess a Master of Library Science from an accredited university.

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