Ode to Librarians

A Song for Library Media Specialists

Teacher's Guide

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Last year, we asked librarians all over the country to submit their own versions of our Ode to Librarians video. Three amazing schools won the chance to be featured in this remix. Don't miss their mega-fun, super creative interpretations as they welcome you to the library!

Believe it or not, libraries have been around for thousands of years. They were created to preserve important artifacts (religious, literary and historical documents) much like museums. The first libraries stored the earliest form of writing on clay tablets dating all the back to 2600 BC and included records of commercial transactions as well as poems. By the 18th century, reading became a social activity and many libraries functioned as places to meet up with friends like coffee shops do today.

One of the first organized collections was the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. It was the largest and most significant library of the ancient world. Experts in all areas of literature, government and finance had their works in its archives. The library is also famous for burning down, losing many scrolls and books. Scholars aren't exactly sure how the fire started. But one theory is that in 48 BC, when Caesar pursued Pompey into Egypt, he ordered the ships in the harbor to be set on fire which spread to the city, eventually burning the great library and the knowledge within it.

Today's libraries offer much more than just books, magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. A library's collection can include CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audio books as well as online access to academic journals and all kinds of databases.

Ancient librarians held high status in their societies. Why is that? They were often scholars or priests and would have been among the only people able to read. If you wanted knowledge, you had to go to them.

Dante is a poet and the author of the celebrated Divine Comedy. In the Divine Comedy, Dante is lead through hell and purgatory by Virgil, an ancient Roman poet whom he admired.

If you're assigned a project that requires research, it can be pretty overwhelming. How do you get started? Where can you find the information you need? What are the best sources to investigate? Librarians are the experts, and they know their stuff. Whether it's helping you evaluate a source's credibility or creating bibliographies, they can lead the way. Ask them for help!

A traditional library was a silent place for reading and studying. But as technology and work environments are changing, so are libraries. You can find college libraries with large screens to plug in a laptop, high-tech nooks and rooms for collaboration, and powerful computers for video editing. At the library at Northeastern University (where Flocabulary interns go to school), each floor has a different noise rating. You can talk loudly on floor 2, you need to keep your voice down on floor 3, and floor 4 is for silent study.

Many libraries contain thousands of books and other media. Some, like the Library of Congress, contain millions. How do librarians organize all of those items? Most use the Dewey Decimal System. Melvil Dewey was working at Amherst College library in 1873 when he developed the ideas for his library classification system. One of the innovations of the Dewey Decimal System was positioning books on the shelves in relation to other books on similar topics. Before the DDS most libraries assigned books a permanent shelf position based on height and date of acquisition, making titles harder to find.

Some of the most famous libraries aren't even real. They exist in literature, film and television. Think Hogwarts Library in the Harry Potter Series. Then there's the Jedi Temple Library, the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and Lucien's Library, which contains every book that anyone has ever dreamed of writing — but has never written. Libraries can be great places to get lost. Lost in thought. Lost in the stacks. Or lost in a good book.

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