I have linked the video at the end of this post, and I'm giving you two options now, either watch it right away, then come back and read my thoughts on it, or read my thoughts first (at risk of spoilers) and watch it at the end. The choice is yours.
I don't remember when I first stumbled upon this beautiful film, though it might have been because of radio coverage of the Academy Awards, but when I first saw it, I marveled at how perfectly it depicted everything that I wanted to be as a librarian. The other thing that came to mind was "where have I seen that artwork before?" After some quick Googling I came up with the the answer. The creator of the film, William Joyce, is a prolific author/illustrator of children's books including the popular Rolie Polie Olie and a personal favorite of mine from childhood, Santa Calls. The short film was followed by a picture book of the same title which is absolutely wonderful as well. (We have it here at the Bryan Library, where you can check it out as soon as I return it! :)
The film depicts the story of a man who's world is turned upside down in a massive storm (with a storm sequence reminiscent of the tornado in The Wizard of Oz). In the aftermath of the storm he struggles to seek out meaning in his life. After, as the book says, "a happy bit of happenstance" Mr. Lessmore is given a purpose in life again when he is led to a library of living, fluttering, flying books where he becomes their caretaker. In essence, Mr. Morris Lessmore is a librarian, a true Keeper of Knowledge. He organizes the books, repairs them, and reads life into the old tomes that have died in the memory of everyone else.
My favorite scene perhaps, is when he is shown at the window of the book house handing books to a line of people who, as they stand in line, are depicted in black and white. When given a book however, they light up and are filled with color. This has been in my experience, the most satisfying and rewarding perk of being a librarian and why I most particularly want to work with children--the service of connecting a person with the book that was meant for them and watching them come alive as readers.
The story goes to show how powerful the written word can be, and how important the Keepers of Knowledge, the librarians, are to a society.
I hope you enjoy the film, and go check the book out at YOUR local library.
Until next time,
Adieu from the stacks.