Miskatonic University Press

Chuck Clayton at the ref desk

archie libraries

I chanced upon another librarian in Archie comics, this time in Life with Archie: The Married Years, Volume One (in the second or third issue, which was published in late 2010). Here Chuck Clayton goes to the Riverdale Public Library and gets help from librarian Mrs. Bell. Chuck doesn’t know it but his girlfriend Nancy Woods is also in the library—she’s writing a comic book, and he’s illustrating one, but they haven’t told each other yet (to learn why, you’ll have to read the comic).

Chuck Clayton gets help at the ref desk.
Chuck Clayton gets help at the ref desk.

Mrs. Bell’s reference desk skills could use some improvement. “We have three books. They’re in the photography section!” isn’t a good answer. Assuming Chuck knows where the photography books are (the 770s), historical photographs of New York would be filed in 974 (history of the northeastern United States). All books about the history of New York should be collocated on the same shelf beside each other: that’s what library classification systems are for. So either Mrs. Bell gave Chuck some very wrong directions about where to look or the RPL cataloguers are incompetent.

“As I thought” seems a bit rich. That’s showing off.

Maybe Mrs. Bell is the only one on duty, and has work to catch up on—notice the tray of jumbled books on the desk—but she really should have taken Chuck over the section and made sure he got to the right books. (If they actually were in the 770s, she might have used this as a teachable moment to explain why the RPL cataloguers do things so strangely.) “The right book, in the right hands, at the right time,” as I like to misquote Lillian Smith.

Life with Archie: The Married Life was written by Michael Uslan and Paul Kupperberg, pencilled by Norm Breyfogle, inked by Andrew Pepoy and Joe Rubinstein, lettered by Janice Chiang and Jack Morelli, and coloured by Glenn Whitmore. Archie Comics holds the copyright.