Is Your Library Ready for the Apocalypse?

“If I had known the world was ending, I would have brought better books.”   The Walking Dead

In the near future, there could very well be a zombie apocalypse.  Don’t laugh.  This highly scientific article describes how it could happen.  And obviously the CDC takes it seriously,  because they’re even selling T-shirts!

But hey, my odds of surviving any kind of zombie anything are slim. Even though I work out (sometimes), I’m still *ahem* curvaceous.  I have very poor hand/eye coordination, and no real survival skills, unless you count my ability to navigate a QuikTrip parking lot.  Let’s face it.  If the world were taken over by zombies, the only reason I wouldn’t be zombie-lunch is because I didn’t make it past breakfast.

But the relatively good news for me is that there ARE other end of the world scenarios that I could possibly survive.  The whole 2012 end of the world thing?   I’ve got a fighting chance to be one of the 5% survival rate, right?  After all, when it comes to species survival, brains have to count for something.   And because I have a nice basement, I could be one of the lucky ones in an asteroid impact, supernova or even certain kinds of alien invasion.

Ok, so assuming that there was a not-zombie apocalypse of some kind, and assuming that I survived,  I realize that my beloved Kindle would be useless.  After all, according to my extensive research (movies and sci-fi books), an apocalypse is recognizable by the absence of electricity, toilets and the internet.  Kind of like camping. This means forget about downloading directions on how to create a generator from paper clips, much less an e-book about local edible plant life, or instructions on how to treat radiation poisoning.

We need real books, people!

According to a great, yet gloomy, Hecker article about academic libraries in a post-petroleum apocalypse, “Libraries that resisted the temptation to throw away or incinerate their paper resources and microforms in favor of the deceptive promise of digital resources will be filled with the intellectual and artistic treasures of ages of human striving, worth every effort to maintain and preserve” (193).  Uh oh.  This may not be so great for my library, which has embraced digital word with the kind of passion and fondling usually reserved for teenagers in cars.  However, there are plenty of real books left in other libraries…somewhere.

The best thing about an apocalypse is that I could possibly still have a job.  Hecker, relying on  on Roberto Vacca’s book The Coming Dark Age , says we will need librarians to be “informed generalists who understand and can interpret the texts they protect–this along with the ability to grow their own food and to clothe and shelter themselves” (194).  And yes, this means I need to be a badass with a gun or, “proficient in small arms,”  which will  “find extensive use in the war-lord dominated feudal system.”

Oh boy.

I’m a librarian and I may have a gun. Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Citation for Hecker article:

 Hecker, Thomas E. “The Post-Petroleum Future Of Academic Libraries.” Journal Of Scholarly Publishing 38.4 (2007): 183-199. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

Note- The above is a repost in honor of the Mayan End of Days.  


About Ellie Kohler

I'm the Access and Learning Services Librarian at Rockhurst University, and was a founding member of the ILL Special Interest Group. My specialties include interlibrary loan, instruction, reference, circulation, reserves, and wrangling 40 (or so) student assistants. I continue to defy the librarian stereotype by keeping a cat-free household.
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