Saint veneration fascinates me. Some of the patron saints did little more than be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but some did lead truly interesting lives. One such person was St. Lawrence, patron saint of Librarians. St Lawrence was a singular fellow who wasn’t afraid to tell the Emperor of Rome (Valerian) that the riches of the church were in the poor and crippled who came for assistance. He’s also known for supposedly joking with his executioners as the they roasted his alive that he was done on one side and they could turn him over.
As a Librarian I find St. Lawrence an interesting fellow to live up to. Firstly as the Librarian to the Christian Church he would have held in his hands at one time or other original works by the disciples, and probably several original letters by Paul. He was in charge of some of the most powerful writings the world has ever seen and that eventually changed the course of the Western World forever.
Working with the public means we all take a roasting at one time or other. If we can keep a sense of humor we can diffuse a situation or at least make light of something that would otherwise get us down.
Like St. Lawrence all Librarians should see that the true wealth of a library is not that of money that is book vote or the number of databases they provide, but the people who use it. One of our smallest branches is (per captia) one of the busiest. In this sense that small branch is richer than the multistory- tens-of-staff main branch.
And finally, with his ready wit he has also been made the Patron saint of Comedians and I feel it truly justice that all those naughty jokers who got in trouble from Librarians for making their friends laugh out loud in the library should have to share a saint with their nemeses.