## Librarians Of The Apocalypse

Star Wars, stand aside! Doctor Who, you’re a piker!

“There IS a wise and wonderful plan… of tomes and talismans!”

Mississippi educational television put out a series of instructional videos in the mid-1980s called Tomes & Talismans, meant to teach children about how to use the tools in the library. Described by my friend Dan, who tipped me off to this classic: “It revolves around a low budget apocalyptic science fiction plot that is generously interrupted to, for instance, explain the Dewey Decimal System. The story is that everybody that matters is abandoning the Earth, while lunatics are running around trying to destroy books and beat up TV newscasters. Time is running out, but the heroine of the story MUST RETRIEVE THE LAST OVERDUE BOOK. And there is no indication whatsoever that they were being funny or ironic. Absolutely delightful.”

The whole Tomes & Talismans series is posted on YouTube, described there as a “Post-apocalyptic library science educational show from the mid-eighties. Learn all about the Dewey decimal system, card catalogues, and microfiche! And the fate of the Earth, of course.” Dan had only watched the first episode, which was was broken down in three sections, and said the real action is in the third part. I, who had never heard of it before this week, watched all 13 episodes, roughly four hours, over two days; each of the 13 episodes runs just under 20 minutes each.

1. Tomes Entombed— overview of library/research skills and concepts
Part 1 – noisy and a bit garbled in the first couple minutes, but it clears up
Part 2
Part 3
2. Fact or Fiction— fact and fiction; alphabetical shelving
Part 1
Part 2: she IS a librarian
Part 3
3. Under Cover— parts of a book
Part 1
Part 2
4. In the Cards— card catalog
Part 1
Part 2
5. The System— Dewey Decimal Classification System
Part 1
Part2 : has most of the Dewey Decimal system laid right out for you
6. Information Quick— encyclopedia; typographical clues
Part 1 music to read your encyclopedia by
Part 2: the apparently famous watermelon episode
7. Hidden Meaning— dictionary; thesaurus
Part 1
Part 2
8. Preference for Reference— special subject reference sources
Part 1
Part 2
9. Direction Unknown— maps; atlases; world almanac
Part 1
Part 2
10. SOS: Skim or Scan— skimming; scanning; paraphrasing; taking notes
Part 1
Part 2
11. Guide to Light— Reader’s Guide; Children’s Magazine Guide
Part 1
Part 2
12. Show and Tell— audiovisual resources
Part 1
Part 2
13. Final Report— summarizing reports; concluding research; bibliographic sources
Part 1
Part 2

Reportedly, it’s coming to DVD this year.
***
Fear the Librarian

ROG

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