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Superman Gets His MLS

by on March 14, 2013

I have the good fortune to work in a library that is open to the public as well as owned by a private museum, and so therefore, I obtain a lot of queries in person, on the phone, and via e-mail. I crave interaction with people and therefore appreciate working the circulation and reference desk.  Last week someone called to ask if we could help her appraise her deceased mother’s art work. Later in the conversation I found out that she was in Florida and I work in Ohio. I was able to help her locate an appraisal company in her area, and exited the phone call amazed that someone in Florida would call someone in Ohio for that information. These are the stories and phone calls that I live for.

I work for a museum and someone called to see if we could help her put together a biography of her Aunt. Her Aunt had contributed to shows at the museum, but she wasn’t sure when or how many. I did a little research in our archives and was able to tell her the dates of the shows and the titles of the pieces and even provide her with a few pictures. She told me I was her hero.  Likewise, one of the people that work at the front desk of the museum has called me her hero. She often calls with specific questions about the museum and its artwork. (i.e. What gallery has the Monet in it?  Where is the Picasso and when did we acquire it?)  She almost always ends the conversation with “Thanks again, you are my hero.”

Are We Heroes?

I don’t think for a second that this “hero” moniker is unique to me. I have actually said the same thing to librarians while I was in school. Librarians are heroes.  Often people come to us when they don’t know where else to turn. It’s our job to help these people gain the knowledge that they seek. Our jobs are so much more involved that just recommending the new David Sedaris book, or printing a list of all of the books written by Judy Blume.

Do I think we are in the same category as Superman and Wonder Woman?  No.  However there is something to be said for what we do.  We help people.  A hero is defined as “a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities1”  As librarians we are often admired for the achievements of helping our patrons.

Sooner or later, I may start wearing a cape to work.


  1. Merriam-Webster. January 11, 2013. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hero (accessed February 25, 2013).