“Librarians”, says author Patrick Ness, “are tour-guides for all of knowledge”.
Ness, winner of the 2011 Carnegie Medal for Monsters of Men, made this comment in what the Guardian called an “excoriating” acceptance speech. He criticised UK cuts to public and school libraries, pointing out that when libraries are under threat, librarians and young readers are in danger too.
Here’s how he describes the magic of librarians:
“Knowledge and information — and by which I do very much include the internet — is a forest. And true, sometimes it’s fun getting lost, sometimes that’s how you learn some surprising things. But how much more can you discover when someone can point you in the right direction, when someone can maybe give you a map. When someone can maybe even give you a treasure map, to places you may not have even thought you were allowed to go. This is what librarians do.”