At one of the SFPL branches, we once went through some humorous rigamarole about the Library Olympics. Different branches would compete in contests including Book-Cart Ballet, Speed Shelving, and Crate Weight-Lifting. Alas, we'd joke about different tests of skill and which branch would be the victors, and then real work would intervene and we'd go back to doing those tasks anyway without fanfare or medals.
Little did we know that if we pursue these intramural competitions, we might one day qualify for the Librarian Book Cart Drill Championships. Recently held in Chicago as part of the American Library Association's Annual Conference, the event made NPR news as evidence that the stodgy librarian stereotype is long outdated. According to the ALA press release, one purpose of the competition is to "provide library staff with the opportunity to build morale and encourage teamwork", which would fit in perfectly with SFPL's Library Olympics dream.
What strikes me when I read through accounts of the Book Cart Drill and look at pictures, is that this competition is a natural relative of roller derby. The participants are perhaps a little slower, maybe a little more protective of achy joints, and encouraging literacy is at the forefront of the spectacle, but in terms of costumes and competitiveness and having a blast, they're definitely related sports.
So, as we start organizing book cart drill practices, any costume suggestions for the home team?
Photo by ALA Cognotes.