Just Ask Us: National Library Day

Jolie De Feis and Mike Plotz

This article is a little sentimental for us because it is how this whole column began. One day, early in the semester, before the temperature with wind chill was negative 6 degrees and the albino squirrels were still alive, Mike was sitting in the Charles W. McCandless Main Level of Mudd library (in the area commonly known as the Robert Lemle ’75 and Roni Kohen-Lemle ’76 Academic Commons) and thinking about how amazing it was. It was then that Mike bumped into Jolie — you could say it was fate — and together they began to Marvel© at Mudd, and then at the idea of libraries in general. We are of the opinion that libraries are grossly underrated, and we’re here to show you why you should never take the Seeley G. Mudd Center, or any library, for granted. Charles, Robert, Roni and Seeley G. clearly understood the wonder that is libraries, but do you, reader? No, you don’t.

We could explain to you, reader, the deep history of the library. We could tell you about the trials and tribulations public libraries have faced in the wake of widespread book burnings and censorship. We could tell you about Alex Abramowitz’s librarian mom (Hi, Ellen!) and her feelings towards libraries, or we could tell you about how today’s libraries are used for us to sit on our computers and access our own personal libraries (Wow, think about that one!). We could tell you about the lack of funding our libraries receive today; we could tell you about the Oberlin Review archive that may or may not exist in Mudd library (but we don’t know because we haven’t checked); or we could even tell you about how the first floor of Mudd acts as a student union because Oberlin is sorely lacking a proper student gathering space. But we’re not going to talk about any of that. Why don’t you go to the library and do your own damn research? (It’s free!)

Today we’re going to talk to you about Library Day. It is of our opinion that we, and all of you, should demand that the federals and governments and Yankees up in Washington Square Park create this blessed day. On Library Day, everyone has the day off — except, of course, librarians — and we celebrate the hard work that goes into this underutilized and underappreciated but priceless resource. On this day, we place our favorite librarians (in the case of Mike, that honor goes to College senior Cassandra Hay, while Jolie remains fond of Ms. Spangler from her alma mater Chatsworth Avenue Elementary School) into chairs and hoist them high into the air like it’s their second bar or bat mitzvah. Mazel tov, librarians! Every Library Day, we also choose a new large corporation to burn down. Who’s next, MGM?

Libraries are radical, and that scares media distribution companies. Seriously, libraries are the college student who decides to pursue a film degree rather than becoming a doctor or lawyer like everyone else in his family, and further defies them by moving over 300 miles away to cold and gray Ohio; libraries are that guy. In this case, that guy is Mike.

Come on, reader; let’s try a little thought experiment. Imagine, if you can, that we live in a world with no libraries. All of a sudden, 21st-century Ben Franklin comes along (he lost a little weight, grew a little hair, but still doesn’t know what electricity is) and opens up a 21st-century public library in Media, PA (hi, Ellen!). The town loves it — it’s legal, after all — because little Ben Franklin is simply buying content and sharing it with all of his friends. But BAM! NBC, CBS, ABC, MGM, NPR, PBS, KGB, BBC, FBI, DEA, CIA, CNN, NSA, they’re all after you! They’re waiting outside your house, they know that you rub your mom’s feet every morning, and they’re not, I repeat, not, happy about your little library experiment. Copyright infringement, they say! An assault to their profits! You didn’t pay for that! And so on.

Did you know that Amazon offers unlimited books ( from participating publishers) on Kindle for the low price of $9.99 per month? Seems like a great idea, right? It is! And it already exists — it’s called a library. This is why we here at “Just Ask Us and We’ll Tell Ya” are of the opinion that we need a National Library Day — because profit won’t enlighten your soul. Happy reading, “friend.”