Sunday, February 10, 2008

What Do You Call a Group of Librarians?

It all started Friday morning with an innocent query to ExLibris by Columbia University Rare Books Librarian Jane Rodgers Siegel, whose husband had asked her what a group of librarians is called (you know, like a pride of lions). His own guess was "a quire of librarians." But that was just the beginning. The suggestions poured in over the course of the day. I include some of them here, with their contributors:

- shush of librarians (Robert Beasecker) ... or "a shoosh of librarians," which is, as Ashley Large noted, the 'official' Uncylopedia term.
- gathering of librarians (C.J. Scheiner, Martin Howley)
- fascicle of librarians (Eric White) ... someone later suggested this should only apply to serials librarians, while Jay Dillon added it might be used for temps.
- google of librarians (Eric White)
- sammelband of librarians (Eric White)
- collation of librarians (Fred Schreiber)
- bibliogeekerie of librarians (Merfyn Jones)
- classification of librarians (Steve Mauer)
- catalogue of librarians (Eric White)
- stack of librarians (Jane Wickenden)
- spectacle of librarians (David Anderson)

Edward Hoyenski, admitting "yes, I've had caffeine," suggested "a cutter of librarians," "a press of rare book librarians," "a subscription of serials librarians," "a search of reference librarians," and "a catalog of catalogers."

Kevin Mac Donnell went all out, even tossing in some timely references:
- folio of librarians (large group)
- duodecimo of librarians (small group)
- gauffering of librarians (fringe group)
- errata of librarians (a very dumb group)
- slug of book-thieves (very dumb book-thieves who appeal their sentence and get a longer sentence)
- collation of bibliographers
- pagination of cataloguers
- deckle of papermakers
- font of typesetters
- register of printers
- case of binders
- prospectus of publishers
- blurb of booksellers
- oozing of Roycroft imprints

It took a very long time for anyone to suggest the one a friend came up with instantly at work (collection of librarians). Another friend (the cynic) threw out "backlog of librarians" (harsh, but probably fair).

After quite a few hours of this, Jay Dillon quipped "Oh, I don't know. I rather liked the first one, 'a quire of librarians'. Thus, for example, certain contributors to this list have been preaching to the quire."