You feel a moment of fear as you step through the door; you enter a place that you may never have been in before.
The walls are covered with shelves; the shelves are filled with portals to distant worlds, galaxies of Maths, the worlds of poets and dreamers long dead or newly minted. Gateways to History, Geography, the Arts and Sciences.
You know there is order here, but to your eye it seems like chaos, the books all look the same, you see strange numbers adorning their spines. You have forgotten what you want, you start to panic and want to run screaming from this terrifying place!
WAIT! Do not despair! You are not alone! For there is a master of this perplexing place; known as a Librarian he is, guardian, gatekeeper and enabler to those seeking knowledge.
The Librarian sits at his desk, typing furiously on his computer. You approach with trepidation because he looks busy, a look of abstract concentration on his face.
You cough nervously; he stops and looks up “Hello!” he says brightly “How may I help you?”
“I am looking for a book!” you say, “If you are busy I can come back later?”
“I am never too busy to help someone find a book!” he exclaims. “For I am here to help all seekers of knowledge or books for enjoyment!”
“Now what book are you looking for?”
“I am not sure, it is red and is about vampires”
“I see. Is it fiction or non-fiction?”
“What is the difference?”
“Well non-fiction books contain information about real things, people, events and places while fiction books contain stories that have been made up.”
“Oh. Ok then it is fiction.”
“Can you tell me anything else about the book?”
“Well it is based in a school…”
“Ah then you are probably looking for Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead!”
“How can I find it?”
“Well fiction books are sorted alphabetically by the author’s surname, in this case Mead, so the first three letters of her surname are used ‘MEA’ which you will find in the M section.”
“Where is that then?”
“Let me show you!”
He leads you into the shelves where books you have never seen before seem to watch you as you pass. You shake off the feeling of unease and follow the Librarian down the dark oaken shelves.
“Here it is!”
You look at the book in his hands, it is red and the title is Vampire Academy
“Oh wow it is that book and there are more by the same author; that is amazing! I did not know it was so easy! Is the non-fiction section the same?”
“Well non-fiction is only slightly more complicated, the books are sorted by subject using an alpha-numeric system called the Dewey Decimal Classification System.”
“What does alpha-numeric mean?”
“Well, it means that it is a system that uses letters and numbers.”
“How do I work that out?”
“Instead of just having he authors surname on the spine of the book, you can also see numbers that correspond with the subject, if you look at the poster up around the library they will tell you the 10 sections that the non-fiction section is divided into, but if you get stuck you can always ask the LIBRARIAN!”
In a blur he is gone, and you are left standing there on the floor of the Library wondering what had happened. Only the books in your hands are proof that it was not a dream.
You walk towards the Library door, happy in the knowledge that if you get stuck or do not know where to find the answers that you need all you have to do is ask a Librarian.
Just as you are about to leave a voice from the desk says “You do know that you need to check those books out on your Library Card!”
You turn and say: “But I do not know how to get a Library Card!”