13. The NYPL’s Librarians
Perhaps the only people less powerful in the library system than the  homeless patrons are the librarians themselves. Gone are the days when a  master’s degree in library science and a job in the nation’s largest  public-library system meant that you would spend your days helping  writers to research and mesmerizing people with your encyclopedic  knowledge of the Dewey decimal system. Today’s NYPL librarian needs to  be a social worker, a specialist at dealing with the homeless and the  severely mentally ill, a computer-tech wiz at solving people’s Wi-Fi  problems, and a job (and suicide-prevention) counselor helping people  look for jobs that simply don’t exist. Even those librarians at the  flagship Fifth Avenue main branch (who have been inoculated to some  degree from the shit storm of the branch libraries) are preparing for  it. As a recent article in The Nation reported, the 3 million books beneath the Rose Reading Room will soon  be shipped off to a storage facility in New Jersey and replaced by seven  floors of computer terminals. As a former NYPL librarian said of the  branch across the street and the main branch’s future: “That place is  utter chaos. And it will all come here—the noise, the teenage problems,  the circulating DVDs.”
— from “The 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers" in The Village Voice
(image: NYPL, Seward Park Branch, Lower East Side; image by Wally Gobetz on Flickr)

13. The NYPL’s Librarians

Perhaps the only people less powerful in the library system than the homeless patrons are the librarians themselves. Gone are the days when a master’s degree in library science and a job in the nation’s largest public-library system meant that you would spend your days helping writers to research and mesmerizing people with your encyclopedic knowledge of the Dewey decimal system. Today’s NYPL librarian needs to be a social worker, a specialist at dealing with the homeless and the severely mentally ill, a computer-tech wiz at solving people’s Wi-Fi problems, and a job (and suicide-prevention) counselor helping people look for jobs that simply don’t exist. Even those librarians at the flagship Fifth Avenue main branch (who have been inoculated to some degree from the shit storm of the branch libraries) are preparing for it. As a recent article in The Nation reported, the 3 million books beneath the Rose Reading Room will soon be shipped off to a storage facility in New Jersey and replaced by seven floors of computer terminals. As a former NYPL librarian said of the branch across the street and the main branch’s future: “That place is utter chaos. And it will all come here—the noise, the teenage problems, the circulating DVDs.”

— from “The 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers" in The Village Voice

(image: NYPL, Seward Park Branch, Lower East Side; image by Wally Gobetz on Flickr)