Toshokan Sensou: The Only Thing Missing Is a Card Catalog

I love you even when you’re mad, Iku, although I’m sure Doujou loves you more (and, if not yet, soon).

I still don’t care how little sense this series makes. It’s totally awesaome. The best part about episode 4 was the part where, in order to get around the problem of not beling allowed to fire weapons off library property unless given special dispensation to (which brings up the interesting dynamic of the librarians being the defenders in this war, rather than the offense–more later) simply by declaring the building where Iku and the librarian administrator were held the newest branch of the Kanto library. Of course, that was made even better because they managed to storm the entire place without firing a shot, but, hey, we always need more libraries around.

I also highly enjoyed the “discussion” (more like reminder) of the basic prinicples of library operation: do not restrict access to information. Of course, in a real library, this is a somewhat thorny problem, as things become somewhat complicated when you start mixing the public in. Pulbic libraries and major academic libraries that let patrons in from outisde the university, which is most of them; I think I’ve only been to one private library in my life, a horse-focused one in Keeneland (yes, I live in Kentucky; no, we aren’t all hicks, and no, I will not send you moonshine), so it’s probably less of a concern there. Still, in public settings (I work at two of them, so I’ve seen this process twice) there are sensitive issues such as whether or not people should access things such as pornography at a library. The government-run public library has a strict computer user policy where you can theoretically be ejected/banned from the library for accessing such material, although in practicality this almost never happens. The worst most people get is all the librarians sharing a hearty laugh in the back room about it. At the other library, though, it’s not forbidden so much as, if another patron/staff member raises a complaint about what someone is looking at on a computer, security steps in and tells them to find a new computer (and there’s like 50 quintillion of the things in the building).

More relevant to Toshokan Sensou is the rather strange fact that, as mentioned above, the libraries are on the defensive against censors, rather than on the offensive. Perhaps it’s just that we’re all a bunch of pacifists, but it’s interesting from the social commentary position that libraries have to defend freedom of speech and expression from a public (or, in this case, a government-sponsored organization) that strives to censor information. I’m not entirely sure about how one can be on the offensive about freedom of speech, but,.as a librarian, it’s always struck me as strange that people would want to abridge freedom of speech. This is a crazy complicated issue, as the ALA likes to speak out against things such as book burnings, which, if you look at them funnily enough, become a matter of free speech, in that their burning of the book is their way of saying that they abhor this book. More straightforward is the banning of books, which is clearly a violation of freedom of speech. I’m still vastly amused over the hubbub when a few rogue librarians threw a hissy fit over The Higher Power of Lucky after it won a Newbery because the word “scrotum” was on the first page (the scrotum in question was attached to a dog, but this didn’t stop them), and banned the book from their library, declaring it unfit for children. Freedom of speech is awesome and I would totally join an army to protect it, especially if we got to recite these lines here as our own personal Articles of War.

Oh, and just for fun:

What the hell kind of classification system are they using? Maybe I’m just too unfamiliar with the general operating mechanics of the Nippon Decimal Classification, but this doesn’t make any sense at all. First, why are there no decimal numbers and Cutter numbers and, second, why aren’t the call numbers (if one can call such abominations “call numbers”) in numerical order? Do your library research, Production I.G. (Or maybe I just don’t know how things are done in libraries in Japan, as I know I’ve seen that style of call number label in anime before, but it doesn’t seem to be any use to anyone at all)

6 Responses to “Toshokan Sensou: The Only Thing Missing Is a Card Catalog”

  1. 1 EvilDevil 22 May 2008 at 3:40 am

    “I still don’t care how little sense this series makes.”

    I dont know, to me it makes a lot of sense, all i have to do is look at back at history at how many book, works of art, as well as cultural heritage had been destroyed by censorship, warfare, superstition, and other destructive forces lead by stupid idiots… to me this show is the importance of books and the freedom to read them without fear… does it makes sense that you have to be afraid of reading a book?

  2. 2 OGT 22 May 2008 at 7:27 am

    Oh, it makes perfect sense, it’s just that everyone loves to criticize it for being a ridiculous premise. And it is a ridiculous premise, but that’s why it’s awesome.

  3. 3 Manu 22 May 2008 at 6:21 pm

    The whole series indeed does not make a lot of sense… it’s not a secret.. I still wonder what (including me) still makes it somehow addictive…

  4. 4 OGT 22 May 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Because “making sense” is less important than “having fun”?

  5. 5 blissmo 24 May 2008 at 1:41 am

    Haha, I love this series but it does get boring for me sometimes …

  6. 6 tinyRedLeaf 29 May 2008 at 1:05 pm

    “…their burning of the book is their way of saying that they abhor this book.”

    Not really. Your freedom to swing your fist ends before my nose. Meaning to say, you are free to say what you want so long as you are not preventing others from having the same freedom.

    But of course, this simple principle often gets forgotten once people start talking about sensitive matters, such as OMFG PoR|\|! Someone has to save the kids!!

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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May 2008

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