Ode to a Reference Librarian


O Noble Reference Librarian, thou keeper of ancient tomes,
Thou from whose ever-seeing eyes the musty dark
of ignorance runs; fleeting into caves it roams.

Knowledge’s power and its difference stark
stands tribute to the echoes of my heart
without your watchful guidance and wisdom to mark.

Though all alone my research I may start,
eventually I am lost without your aid,
read between the lines: you’re pretty darn smart.

When I feel my resolve begin to fade,
and madness overtake my lengthy notes,
one e-mail from you and my project is made. 

Wise sage, who art everywhere and nowhere;
preserver of my sanity; hear, O hear!


Thou with whom all knowledge of the archive’s content
rests, solely within the confines of your mind,
Thou may these hopeless finding aids augment!

When I a promising volume or folder find,
I cannot help but wistfully wonder
if by you this call number it has been assigned.

And when I am delivered my research’s plunder
if it contains not what I was expecting
I know it must be someone else’s blunder.

This fondness is not something I’m affecting.
You truly are my savior, through and through
when I, my primary sources, am selecting,

You always have an answer for me,
where should I look next? You tell me; O hear! 


Thou who didst calm me with thy helpful words,
your e-mails always packed with burning hope
and, within me, that hope to joy transferred.

When I am lost, you throw me strongest rope
with which to pull myself from doldrums’ grasp
(though afterwards I may feel like a dope).

 Sometimes I come to you with dieing gasp,
knowing my project may be at its end,
lack of sources killing it like venom of the asp. 

But then, my broken thought tracks you do mend,
and breathe into my research new life
when bibliographic entries you me send.

You always do more than I expect of you,
and bring me joy with your encouraging words; O hear!


If I were forced to spend my days
in a world without you or your kin,
surely my research I would appraise

At much less worth than now it holds within.
And thou, O incomparable! If even
I were as in my career’s prime and had been

looking with my mind’s full potential heaving,
thou wouldst still my puny efforts shame
(thy power over the materials I fully believe in).

As thus, to thee with questions I came,
O! Help me in my research’s day of plight!
Without thee, my paper’s going to be lame! 

Help me to bring new knowledge to academy’s light!
And weave an argument from sources tight!


Lend me thy thoughts, even as I am merely
a Graduate students with small street cred,
I am most in need of your help clearly!

And (although I know by now I’ve said
this several times, it bears to be repeated)
Without you, all my evidence is fled! 

Sometimes I feel as though I may have cheated
by enlisting your skillful help in my fond chase,
but when my project’s finally completed 

I will ensure I’ve thanked you in the space
allotted for such words of grateful praise
(and also try to say it to your face). 

The knight of research’s call! O reference librarian,
If you forsake us, the academy you’ll raze.

(…an over-working reference librarian made my weekend today, so I decided to make his weekend.  Not even sure if he’ll ever read this.  If you’re slightly confused, you may want to google “Ode to the West Wind”….)

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