Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do YOU know the Library of Congress Call Number of Evil?

Because I do:


Why is that the Library of Congress Call Number of Evil, you ask?

Because it's Hitler's call number. As in the L of C call number for every book about Hitler starts with DD247.H5. There's more to the call number than that- those are only the beginning three lines. What comes after varies, depending on things like who wrote it, and the year it was published, and what exact facet of Hitler the book happens to be discussing, but I don't know the exact science of that part. Presumably that's what you learn in Library School. On my practical work experience end of things, however, you can learn that DD247.H5 is Hitler's call number.

What else have I learned cataloging the Stephen Feinberg Collection of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Boston Latin School? Which, for those of you not in the loop, is what I have been doing the last 6 weeks. Here goes:

1. The most common call numbers prefixes associated with Holocaust and Genocide Studies are, in addition to the aforementioned Call Number of Evil:

- D810.J4, which tend to be about the concentration camps
- DD256.5, which seem to be about life/politics in Nazi Germany and
- DS135, which contains a pretty wide scope of Holoccaust issues, but primarily a lot of survivor accounts.

2. There are like EIGHT different "Atlases" of the Holocaust. Which, huh? Do we really even need one?

3. Even if you know it's about people who suffered terribly during the Holocaust, it's hard not to laugh when you come across books like In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe-- A Dwarf Family's Survival of the Holocaust (described as "the inspirational story of the Ovitz family, whose seven dwarf members endured a dark fairy tale"-- and yes, you did read that correctly). I mean, I'm sure reading it wouldn't be funny but COME ON- seven dwarves? Dark fairy tale? Don't you just see, like, Hitler recruiting him to help him sort out his gender confusion through a Snow White pantomime wherein he played Snow White?

4. If your book about the Holocaust is worth the paper it's printed on, then Elie Wiesel's name is on it somewhere. Maybe he wrote the foreword, maybe he wrote the afterword, maybe he did a blurb for the back of the book, or maybe your agent paid someone else to mention his name in their blurb. Either way, if Elie isn't involved, it might as well not be about the Holocaust at all.

5. That although other, less desensitized people, like Sarah, the Library's student teacher from Simmons, might be bothered to the point of nightmares by dealing day in and day out with hundreds and hundreds of books about the Holocaust, cataloging books called "Scroll of Agony" and "Pathway to Hell" seems to have little or no effect on me. Mostly, I just end up saying things, in casual conversation, like "..oh right, just like Terezin, the show ghetto.." and wondering about weird things, like how editors turn down memoirs of Holocaust survivors. I mean, just think about that for a second-- what do you say?

"Gee, I'm sorry Mr. Stein, but... it's just we've seen this all before. Nazis, anti-semitism, horrors of the death camp, losing everyone, the indomitable human spirit, yadda yadda yadda. I mean, why should we publish your memoir when we could just publish a new edition of The Diary of Anne Frank and sell a million more copies? Your tale of unbearable personal suffering just isn't singular enough for Harper Collins right now."

Clearly not. But can every written and submitted memoir have been published? I find that equally unlikely. So, presumably, someone, somewhere MUST have rejected at least ONE Holocaust survivor's memoir. And wow, that must have REALLY, really sucked for both parties involved. All of this amounts to me being a HORRIBLE PERSON, clearly, because obviously good people don't spend their time pondering how one would reject a Holocaust survivor's memoir, or joking about dwarf families persecuted by Hitler. They get horrible nightmares and are done with it all.

Anyways, that's my list for now. I'm writing this all up today as this is my last full week working at Latin, though I have yet to give official notice. Everyone there knows that I was only doing the work until I got a real job and, as of yesterday, I've managed to get not one but TWO (part-time) jobs: one as the evening and weekend desk attendant at MIT's Dewey Library of Management and Social Sciences (which comes with Grrrrreat Benefits and will pay for 1/6 of my library degree!) and the other as a bookseller extraordinaire at Curious George Goes to Wordsworth in Harvard Square.

I am very excited about both, and excited about (theoretically) earning enough money to support myself and have an apartment while also having jobs that seem fun and will look excellent on my resume. I am going to miss Latin though. Working in my high school has been weird, definitely, but it's also been fun. I really like the librarians, and the student praetors are all great, and I'm getting to see all my old campers and it's just been nice. Best of all though, I've been having lunch every other Wednesday with Anna the Fantastic, who enriches my life enormously. There are so many people I deal with on a day to day basis who just leave me feeling meh, so to hang out with someone who I like so purely is really great. Plus she lends me books. Thankfully though that should be able to continue even after I've started working at Curious George and MIT- right Anna Banana?

I think that's all I have in me tonight, dear readers. But I'm going to try (as usual) to be more regular with my posts from now on. And also more responsible about updating my recent read/viewed columns. But we'll see how that goes.


S0PHIE8 said...

AWESOME!!! I am so excited for you!

The Spelunker said...

HaHA! I found your blog! Now you must update it everyday in order to keep me entertained. Or not. But that would super cool if you did anyway.

Looking forward to the Lantern Festival!

The Project said...

Totally not related, but--
I just figured out that this was you! Hooray!

Hope you are well. Sending love.


PS. I see that Erin has used the same post to express a simmilar sentiment. Hmmm.

Helgagrace said...

Righto, although I have to frown on your use of that horrid nickname. I will figure out how to punish you later.