Tag: Library

Musil’s Librarian

“‘General,’ he said, ‘if you want to know how I know about every book here, I can tell you! Because I never read any of them.’”

The general is astonished by this unusual librarian, who vigilantly avoids reading not for any want of culture, but, on the contrary, in order to better know his books:

“It was almost too much, I tell you! But when he saw how stunned I was, he explained himself. ‘The secret of a good librarian is that he never reads anything more of the literature in his charge than the titles and the table of contents. Anyone who lets himself go and starts reading a book is lost as a librarian,’ he explained. ‘He’s bound to lose perspective.’

‘So,’ I said, trying to catch my breath, ‘you never read a single book?’
‘Never. Only the catalogs.’
‘But aren’t you a Ph.D.?’

‘Certainly I am. I teach at the university, as a special lecturer in Library Science. Library Science is a special field leading to a degree, you know,” he explained. “How many systems do you suppose there are, General, for the arrangement and preservation of books, cataloging of titles, correcting misprints and misinformation on title pages, and the like?’”

Musil’s librarian thus keeps himself from entering into the books under his care, but he is far from indifferent or hostile toward them, as one might suppose. On the contrary, it is his love of books – of all books – that incites him to remain prudently on their periphery, for fear that too pronounced an interest in one of them might cause him to neglect the others.

How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read
Pierre Bayard

Reference is to:
The Man Without Qualities
Robert Musil

Nominate a Movie / Movies for the National Film Registry

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Registry
The 2020 deadline for nominations is September 15, 2020.

The Library of Congress invites you to submit your recommendations for movies to be included on the 2020 National Film Registry. Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian and Film Board are considering their final selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Registry criteria does not specifically prohibit television programs, commercials, music videos or foreign productions, however, the original intent of the legislation that established the Registry was to safeguard U.S. films. Consequently the National Film Preservation Board and the Librarian of Congress give first consideration to American motion pictures.

The Registry is intended to reflect American society and the rich tapestry of American cinema since its inceptions around 1890. To that end, we strongly encourage the nomination of the full-range of American film-making: not just Hollywood classics or other well-known works, but also silent era titles, documentaries, avant-garde, educational and industrial films, as well as films representing the vibrant unmatched diversity of American culture, both in terms of content and all those who created these snapshots of America society: directors, writers, actors and actresses, cinematographers, and other crafts.

Looking for ideas on possible films to nominate? Check here for hundreds of titles not yet selected to the National Film Registry. View the complete list of films currently on the Registry.

You may recommend up to 50 titles per year through our online nomination form..

Library of Congress