When things get too grim, it's time to have some fun! Here is a link to a collection of YouTube favorite videos of library book cart drill teams. The quality of the videos varies a good bit, but it's fun to poke around. Who knew these were being saved? There are strict rules for competing: Five minutes to decorate the carts -- magnets are apparently the secret; Four minute routines; No more than twelve carts.
At various library association meetings, there are book cart drill team competitions -- I see the announcements through my listserve for Massachusetts Library Association. Law libraries are too staid, I guess, to sponsor such things at our meetings. These tend to be public libraries, but also school and university libraries that are competing. Here is the Austin, Texas Public Library Bibliofiles team winning the Texas state championship in April, 2008. There is a combination of costume, careful choreography and marching precision involved. Very creative and a hoot to watch.
Another excellent video is the Cartwheels of the Des Plaines Public Library, billing themselves at America's Number One Book Cart Team. They are preparing for the town's Fourth of July parade, and celebrating the library's centennial. The professionally produced video shows the team practicing, and introduces the team members. It gives the viewer some idea of the amount of effort that goes into a well done book cart drill routine.
I just love when librarians are presented to the public in alternate ways, moving away from the stereotypes. These videos are all shot with great affection, whether created by family members or local public television. Hooray for libraries and the communities that support them! The illustration is the first team that competed at the ALA 2007, to the Flight of the Bumblebee. You can see it at the YouTube video list early in this post, and it's one of the better-shot videos -- the camera holds quite still. It's an impressive routine. But I cannot find any source that notes what library is represented. The image is courtesy of Government Info Pro.