HOLLYWOOD, California. With DVD sales flat as more consumers watch films over the internet, the entertainment industry has one surprise success on its hands–a collection of security camera videos of librarians attacking students in high school reading rooms.
“You think it’s funny to dog-ear pages, don’t you?”
“Being a librarian is a very frustrating, low-paying job,” says producer Toby Hudspeth, whose film bypassed theatrical release with a “direct-to-video” marketing strategy. “It’s immensely entertaining to watch these straight-laced types go after somebody like a shark after chum.”
“I would hate to have to hit you so hard you bled on one of my precious books.”
Miss Elizabeth Jane Grey, a junior high school librarian in a small town in Missouri, is captured on tape berating a freshman honor roll student for using a highlighter on a copy of Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage.” “A book is your friend,” she is heard screaming on the grainy videotape. “You wouldn’t highlight a friend–don’t highlight a book!”
“Excuse me, I need to go wring a kid’s neck.”
The student is reduced to tears and in footage shot a week later has broken out in acne, rendering him reluctant to ask Mary Beth Ohlrich, a stunning blonde cheerleader, to the school’s annual “Valentine Sweetheart” dance.
The American Librarian’s Association issued a press release declaring the film’s “subtext of sexual repression” to be a “parody of a burlesque of a farce.” “Most of our members are married, some of them happily,” said ALA spokeswoman Judith Gaines. “Or have been at one time or another.”
“Two days late? That will be four cents–no checks or credit cards accepted.”
Education administrators say the breakdown in student decorum is leading to more frequent and more violent librarian-on-student attacks in school libraries. “It used to be that ‘Shhh’ meant ‘Shhh’,” said Earl Bucholz, Assistant Principal at Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia, Missouri. “Now, it’s more like ‘Time to think about being quiet as soon as I feel like it, you old biddy.'”
“These books are on double bat-secret reserve–you can’t check them out.”
Fish and game wardens say librarians are unlikely to attack unless provoked, although they may view late returns of books as a threat. “If your book is overdue you should approach librarians with caution, holding the volume out at arm’s length with your hands palm down to show that you are not an aggressor,” says Billy Ray Lyman of the Missouri Department of Wildlife. “And don’t show fear–librarians can sense when you don’t have the two cents a day fine and will go for the jugular.”