Librarians’ values are as sound as Girl Scouts’: truth, free speech, and universal literacy. And, like Scouts, they possess a quality that I think makes librarians invaluable and indispensable: they want to help. They want to help us. They want to be of service. And they’re not trying to sell us anything. But as one librarian put it, “The wolf is always at the door.” In tight economic times, with libraries sliding farther and farther down the list of priorities, we risk the loss of their ideals, intelligence, and knowledge, not to mention their commitment to access for all — librarians consider free access to information the foundation of democracy, and they’re right. Librarians are essential players in the information revolution because they level that field. They enable those without money or education to read and learn the same things as the billionaire and the Ph.D. In prosperous libraries, they loan out laptops; in strapped ones, they dole out half hours of computer time. They are the little “d” democrats of the computer age who keep the rest of us wired.
In tough times, a librarian is a terrible thing to waste.
— Marilyn Johnson, This Book Is Overdue!, p. 8