In George Orwell’s essay “Why I Write,” he lists four “great motives” that people write — sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose. I was originally going to think of reasons people become librarians, but instead I decided to list four motives for using the library (in no particular order).
- for love of the book (or film, magazine, cd, etc.)
- computer and internet access
- space, both reflective and social
What are some other “great motives?” While I would love to think the expertise of librarians is a main draw for people, I’m really not sure how true that is — just speaking from my own experience. In elementary and middle school, I spent hours and hours at my local public library. The reason I kept going back was the books. Though I loved my librarians, I don’t recall asking them for recommendations. As I moved onto high school, while I still went to the library often, I never approached a librarian for help. In undergrad, I used our academic library (though not as much) — but never the librarians. I have to wonder if my personal lack of librarian use is because I grew up consulting Google and Wikipedia.
I also know I’m not the only one. I don’t have any numbers to back me up, but I’m pretty confident that the number of people who use the library outweighs the number of people who consult librarians. What I can’t figure out is if that’s a good or bad thing.