Black Belt Librarian's Alien Abduction Survival Guide

Some days, I love my job. One of the really nice things about working at the library is that you work for librarians. Over the years, in other jobs I’ve inevitably asked about some aspect of the work that interested me, although beyond the scope of my own limited duties only to be told to ‘get back to the work we pay you for; that’s none of your concern.’

Putting books back on the shelves all day every day you get to know the Dewey Decimal System quite well. I can tell you off the top of my head that cookbooks can be found at 641 (a huge number at our library with an extraordinary number of decimal subsections that goes on for about 18 feet), Gardening at 635, Pets and Domesticated Animals at 636, Computers, Software and the Internet at 004, 005 and 006 and travel guides in the 910’s. Also that Bibles are at 220. I had noticed some time ago that Bibles were at 220 but it was only today that I realized that the number 220 denotes only the Judeo-Christian Bible. So I asked the head reference librarian where the sacred texts of other faiths can be found.

Keith reacted as though I’d handed him a present. He explained that 200’s–289 are all devoted to varying aspects of Judeo-Christianity and that everything about other religions can be found in the 290’s, which he led me to and showed me where the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita are shelved and agreed with my observation that this very uneven treatment of religious subjects seemed to reflect Dewey’s own prejudices. Ten minutes later Keith went back to the reference desk and I pushed my empty cart back to the work room, thinking ‘I love this job’.

All of which is in preface to introducing today’s books which stress the unusual part of the ‘interesting, unusual and noteworthy’ in my tagline. The 000’s are easily the weirdest and freakiest of the 10 Dewey ranges. Officially noted as “Generalities” this range includes everything from UFO’s, the Loch Ness Monster and alien abduction survivors, to computers, software and Internet, the Guinness Book of World Records, professional resources for librarians and a grab bag of other oddities that Melvil Dewey couldn’t fit in anywhere else. The Alien Abduction Survivors Guide is, believe it or not, an earnest support manual for abductees. The author, who claims to have been abducted by aliens numerous time and to be a spokesperson for those aliens, offers specific advice for dealing with various emotions, including ridicule. Recommended for amusement value only.

Black Belt Librarians is a no-nonsense handbook for implementing rules on library use that insure all patrons will be able to use library services in a safe and comfortable environment. Which is a very PC way of stating it is a manual for library administrators in districts where large numbers of homeless patrons use the library as a place of shelter and refuge, a purpose for which libraries were never intended. It served primarily to make me thankful that we have relatively little of those types of problems at my library. Recommended only to library administrators who have a significant homeless patron issue to address.

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