I couldn’t help but rush headlong through Rex Libris: I , Librarian by James Turner. This is a graphic novel for the bookish if there ever was one. On the first pages, before the story even gets started, are the
Five Laws of Librarians:
- Books are to be read.
- Every person his or her book.
- Every book its reader.
- Save the time of the reader
- The library is a growing organism
Ok, so it’s not the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, but this is a book after all in which Rex travels to the planet Benzine V to retrieve an overdue library book from an evil space warlord.
Rex used to be a librarian in the ancient library of Alexandria. He’s not really immortal (he can be killed), he just has good genes. Rex is part of Ordo Bibliotheca, the International Order of Librarians. The head of the Order is Thoth, the Egyptian god who is attributed with creating writing and reading. All librarians are members of the Order and have received SAS training, a sort of special forces secret ops Navy Seal thing. So don’t let the bun or the geeky appearance fool you, it’s all a disguise. Every librarian can wield an arsenal of weapons, is an expert in hand-to-hand combat, and can kick some serious booty. I looked over the courses I have to take for library school and didn’t see the SAS training anywhere. I suppose it’s kept secret and called something like “collections management” so those not in the know won’t get suspicious.
Rex Libris is totally outrageous and over the top, filled with book and library jokes as well as comic book and superhero jokes and references. Rex’s editor B. Barry Horst, is very much like J. Jonah Jameson, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle in Spiderman. When Rex is out of the library chasing down overdue books and collecting late fines, the circulation desk is staffed by Circe who sometimes gets in trouble for turning rowdy patrons into pigs, and new librarian Hypatia who is hankering to use her shotgun on somebody and still too new to understand that shushing is often more powerful than bullets.
The motto of the Order of Librarians is Sapere Aude. I have found it translated in various ways, but I like “Dare to Think for Yourself” best. Rex also uses it as a battle cry. My question, for those of you who know Latin, how does one pronounce it? Is it say-per aw-day? Or maybe saw-pear awed? It’s very important that I pronounce it correctly when I have to jump into the fray for the first time. I don’t want to embarrass myself by getting it wrong.