If you’re wondering where this whole “Part 2” business is coming from since you don’t remember Part 1, don’t be alarmed. It all goes back to October 2015 when watching a Harry Potter movie marathon on TV inspired some librarian-ish thoughts. I posted Part 1 (check it out here) and did actually write most of Part 2 back then, as well, but I just realized today that I never finished it. So, here it is, three years later…
Now that I’m looking at the wizarding world through the lens of librarianship, I see the movies, especially Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in a new light. In The Atlas of New Librarianship David Lankes proposes that:
The mission of librarians is to improve society by facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.
Certainly, improving society by facilitating knowledge creation can be accomplished in any number of worthy professions, but I believe it’s a special province of librarians. And who do you think improves wizarding society the most by facilitating knowledge creation in the Hogwarts community? I’ll give you points for answering Professor Lupin or Harry himself. But really the most new-librarianish (yes, it’s a real word, damned spell-check) individual in the story is Hermione Granger, and not because she’s always in the library.
- recognizes a need in her community: to learn Defense Against the Dark Arts in practice rather than just in theory.
- knows the limits of her own knowledge and skills. As clever as she is, she can’t teach her fellow students everything they need or want to know.
- identifies an appropriate resource (i.e. Harry) who can meet the need of the student community in question.
- invites members of the community to gather at the Hog’s Head Tavern during a convenient time (i.e. Hogsmeade Weekend) to gauge their interest and provide a basic framework for future group meetings and conversations.
And the rest is history! Hermione is a community-focused facilitator of knowledge creation and the result of her work is the improvement of society in which Dumbledore’s Army kicks some Death Eater
arse bottom. Librarians in the Muggle real world should look to Hermione as an example to emulate when trying to engage with their own communities.
In the next movie, Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince, there’s a scene of Hermione shelving books in the Hogwarts library. I like to think that’s foreshadowing and that she’ll become a professional librarian. The importance of librarians can’t be underestimated.
I’ve known librarians who worked for the Ford Motor Company and the Gallo Winery. They were crucial in helping those companies maintain an archive of information as well as acquiring new materials for research.
We never see it but clearly the Ministry of Magic must have quite a library of its own, and a whole staff of librarians to maintain it.
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I’ve never seen any of the Harry Potter films, so cannot really relate. Sorry, but my 40+ year history of literature and films is sorely lacking when it comes to Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter; all of that ilk. I always intended to “catch up” by starting with the first Star Wars (9 films, starting in 1977!), but the it became overwhelming and I rather lost interest.
That’s OK. Not every person can watch every movie franchise. There are only so many hours in a day.