or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk



Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian.

   August 25th, 2011

This photo (of the carpet at the Gungahlin Public Library in Canberra, Australia) has been making the rounds, but succinctly sums up why librarians aren't going anywhere:

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one. Neil Gaiman

Thanks Chris.




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22 Responses to “Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian.”

  1. Krista Says:

    Oh I love this!

  2. Lissa Allcock Says:

    Thanks for sharing this – another librarian friend passed it on to me and it gave me a big smile which was sorely needed of a Thursday afternoon.

  3. Jeffrey Beall Says:

    Here’s my scholarly translation of Neil’s quote:

    “Library intermediation greatly improves search precision.”

  4. Tom Says:

    Pretty good. And I will add at the very end of the quotation: “…even when you do not know the question.”

  5. James Says:

    How very well said!

  6. Erin Dorney Says:

    Thanks for sharing this! We are doing a library renovation and one thing we’re working on is a media wall featuring lots of screens and quotes on the wall – I am going to throw this one into the running to be included. :)

  7. Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog | breves de bibliothèque | Scoop.it Says:

    [...] Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog [...]

  8. Tyna Says:

    Actually. The more correct wording would be “… a librarian will tell you Shhhh and point you in the direction of the isle to search down in order to find the answer.” :P

  9. Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog | SocialLibrary | Scoop.it Says:

    [...] Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog Swiss Army Librarian is a blog by Brian Herzog mostly about library and technology issues relating to public libraries… Source: http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net [...]

  10. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Tom: too right.

    @Erin: That’s great – here are a few other quote sources (if you need them):
    Library Quotes for National Library Week

    The Best Weapons in the World

    Quotes about Libraries

    @Tyna: ha, true – those librarians can be just as frustrating as the those that make sure their patrons use “isle” and “aisle” correctly. Actually, I correct peoples’ their/there/they’re mistakes in their resumes unfortunately often.

  11. Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog | Social Media in Libraries | Scoop.it Says:

    [...] Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog Swiss Army Librarian is a blog by Brian Herzog mostly about library and technology issues relating to public libraries… Source: http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net [...]

  12. Ray Charbonneau Says:

    Yes, but…
    Public libraries and librarians were funded because we needed a place to store books and someone to manage them. In today’s nasty, selfish political climate, once books are available digitally, removing the need for public book warehouses to share books (assuming we can continue to share books), who’s going to pay for public librarians?

  13. Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. | apps for libraries | Scoop.it Says:

    [...] Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. [...]

  14. Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog | Greek Libraries | Scoop.it Says:

    [...] Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog [...]

  15. Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog | Bibliotheques hybrides 29 | Scoop.it Says:

    [...] Swiss Army Librarian » Hi, I’m Google. And I’m a Librarian. :: Brian Herzog Swiss Army Librarian is a blog by Brian Herzog mostly about library and technology issues relating to public libraries… Source: http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net [...]

  16. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Ray: Yes but, libraries are more than just books. Libraries are community centers, and serve as public space for meetings, programs, socializing, and public access to services people couldn’t afford on their own. As more and more is available electronically, the focus of libraries’ services will shift, and as long as we’re responsive to their needs, we’ll still remain a vital asset to our communities – and worth funding through taxes.

  17. Kommunernes Skolebiblioteksforening » Bibliotekskompetencer Says:

    [...] Neil Gaiman er både underholdende, dygtig og klog (fundet her): [...]

  18. A Future Librarian’s Manifesto « Nogginquest's Weblog Says:

    [...] Librarianship is indeed under scrutiny.  I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I have been asked why I need to go to graduate school just to put books on a shelf or whether I know that libraries will become extinct due to the Internet.  My answer to both is that these are misconceptions.  The library and the librarian today are more important than ever.  People need our expertise to navigate the Information Age.  As Neil Gaiman would say, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back t…” [...]

  19. Kevin Willson Says:

    This is actually a pretty incorrect quote that has always bugged me. As an educator, I encourage my students to utilize our databases as much as possible, but I also teach them website evaluation. Google does not bring you answers; it brings you places in which you can locate information. You must then determine if this information is credible and worthy of using…so in fact, Google can bring you back a million possible resources and a librarian will bring you back just one possible one.

  20. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Kevin: good point – although, I don’t think it’s for lack of trying. Depending on the search, Google can provide actual answers (and Wolfram|Alpha is designed to do specifically that). I try to never give an unsourced answer – I’ll even look up words that I’m sure I know the spelling of, because I’d hate to be wrong.

  21. National Library Week | Robbins Library Blog Says:

    [...] Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Neverwhere, Stardust, The Graveyard Book) has a neat retort: “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” Hear, [...]

  22. Happy National Library Week | Jenny Arch Says:

    [...] post full of great links at the actual beginning of the week, which is well worth checking out. The Swiss Army Librarian posted a wonderful quote from the very pro-library author Neil Gaiman back in 2011, which is worth [...]