Day one of the practicum went swimmingly, though I learned that us poor librarians only get access to Lynda Barry at the after-party for her talk on Wednesday. Le sigh. I guess it makes sense that she should spend her time with all the real cartoonists in town, rather than me.
The big thing I’m running into here is how different it is being a “comics guy” in library school where there are few of us, compared to being in a place my boss (somewhat ironically) referred to as ComicTown today. In library school the term is having “domain knowledge” and jiminy fucking xmas am I ever not a comics expert here. I have a buddy who could probably hold his own here (though his expertise is more superheroic than indie zinester type stuff) but I’m recognizing one name in six, and smiling and nodding and admitting I have no idea what they’re talking about while I apologize. It’s kind of awesome.
There’s one of these things we get warned about in school, about feeling like you’re the expert and not to get off on that too much (it is probably not worded in exactly that manner). We’re supposed to ask questions and help the reader research or whatever. Ostensibly, it doesn’t matter if I know who Winsor McCay is, as long as I can help someone find his books. I’m here as a librarian, not as a cartoonist. Damn if it isn’t inspiring though.
I mean, if I were working in a medical library I would have to be a pretty dedicated librarian to go digging up more information on the diseases that had been name-dropped at me once I was off work. But tonight I’m filling in gaps, reading zines and researching artists people were nerding out on at the bar and it’s great. I don’t feel like “a dedicated librarian” working hard to serve his patrons; I’m someone who’s learning about all sorts of cool shit from people who’re living and swimming in it.
And that’s all I really want out of a job. For it to be awesome and to learn awesome stuff. This whole shebang is pretty ideal. I’m just saying.