I'm a Librarian... What's Your Superpower???

by Wayne Cherry, Librarian, St. Pius X High School, Houston

I love superheroes.  My desktop wallpaper cycles through artwork featuring the greatest heroes of the Golden and Silver Ages of comics.  My son’s room is still dedicated to the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. When he was a baby (and even now at nearly two), he went to sleep almost immediately when he heard John Williams’ amazing score from the very first Superman film.  Superheroes have become for us what the Olympians were to the Greeks for they are a vital part of our cultural ethos.  So what does that have to do with libraries?

I’ve seen the phrase from the image below so much that I felt it had become a clich√©.  It’s all over Etsy, Pinterest, and ten thousand custom t-shirt sites.  But in the current age of information overload, the 24-hour news cycle, and the rise of fake news, I think that this phrase may be truer than it ever has been.

As a librarian, you are a superhero.  Some of you have the power to make any book sound like the most amazing thing ever printed.  Some of you can bring a story to life so that the characters leap from the page and inhabit your library.  Some of you are quirky enough that dressing up as a favorite character is second nature to you.  Some have the innate ability to match the right book to the right child every time.  Some of you even have the power to make a cup, a marker, and a dollar store toothbrush motor into an artistically inclined robot.
Regardless of what your superpower is, we all have the power to change lives.  In the ten years I have been a librarian, I have watched transformations occur in my libraries.  I’ve seen children who hate books become voracious readers.  I’ve seen the student struggling to cope find peace in the pages of a book.  I’ve even seen students stop hating school for no other reason than they got to come to the library once a week.

It may be that most school librarians don’t wear fancy costumes, hide out in underground lairs, retreat to fortresses of solitude, or charge green rings of power; despite this, we do have the ability to make the world a better place.  We have a fortress of learning and safety within our library’s walls.  We are counselors, advisers, guardians, advocates and definitely teachers, as well as many more things besides.  We have endless power on our shelves and servers as we fight against intellectual dishonesty and information illiteracy.

I am a librarian…what’s your superpower?

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