by Christine Anne George
It was a dark and stormy night in the library as three 1Ls crept along a hallway in ninth floor storage area and let themselves into a dusty study room.
“This isn’t a good idea,” Sarah said for what felt like the umpteenth time. “We should have started earlier.”
“Well we didn’t,” Mary retorted. “Memos are due in twelve hours and this is our only option.”
“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Winnifred sighed. She looked over at the picture of a gruff looking justice on the wall of the abandoned ninth floor storage room whose most prominent feature were his eyebrows. “Others have and succeeded, right, Eyebrows?”
The portrait stared back at the three 1Ls. Granted he always looked exasperated, but it seemed more pronounced. Every year a few desperate 1Ls came here to find out if the urban legend was true. This year was no different.
“Let’s get it set up,” Winnifred said, opening up her bag. She pulled out a copy of the Bluebook and laid it gently on the floor before sitting down.
Sarah produced a volume from the General Index of New York Jurisprudence. “I heard the Librarian liked legal encyclopedias best,” she whispered defensively. “They said we have to annoy her first so obviously I want to do something to make her happy.”
Mary laid out a few sachets of tea and sat down. “Ready.” She took out her cell phone and started dialing.
Sarah took out a sandwich container and opened it as Mary loudly said, “No, it’s fine. I’m in the library. I can talk.”
Eyebrows’ frame rattled against the wall as a wind whipped through the room. Mary lost cell service and her battery died. The food container snapped shut and then flew into the garbage can.
“Now,” Winnifred ordered.
“Boolean searches are best,” the three 1Ls chanted together. “Boolean searches are best. Boolean searches are best.”
There was a loud crack of thunder and the lights blinked out. When they returned, there was a spectral figure in front of Eyebrows, her cardigan floating around her like a cape. The Librarian. “So nice to hear of an appreciation for Boo-lean,” she cackled. Then she turned. “Did you miss me, Eyebrows? One night a year is never enough.” She turned back to the dumbstruck 1Ls. “It’s the night before the first memo. I assume you summoned me because your memos are already submitted and you have a hankering to talk subject headings.”
Mary laughed nervously. “No, uh, we were hoping that we could ask you for some help with our memos.”
“Didn’t you go to the reference desk?”
The 1Ls were silent.
“Surely you’ve taken advantage of the trainings that have been offered.”
Again, the response was silence.
“Each year I swear it will be the last, but I cannot turn away those who express a love for a good Boolean search.” The Librarian’s eyes narrowed and she seemed to grow to three times her size. “Unless those were just words. What is a Boolean search?”
“T-terms and connectors,” Winnifred stammered.
“I brought an index,” Sarah blurted. “For New York Jurisprudence.”
The Librarian’s form shrank back to normal-sized. “Legal encyclopedia’s are my favorite secondary source.”
“Mine too,” Mary said quickly. “Obviously.”
“Alright. I’ll offer you the same deal I do any 1L who summons me. I will help you with your legal research. In return you are to attend every research training the library offers and you are to bring a friend.” She looked at each of the law students in turn. “A friend who is not in this room.”
“Swear on Eyebrows.” The Librarian pointed to the portrait.
“We swear,” the 1Ls said solemnly.
“Very well. We’ll start with research plans…”
Mildred jumped when her phone rang. She looked around, confused. Had she fallen asleep at her desk? She was planning research sessions to help the 1Ls with their upcoming memos. The draft of the email was up on her screen along with the sign up calendar. She must have fallen asleep. The phone rang again, bringing her back to the present. She reached over and grabbed the receiver. “Hello?”
“It’s Julia. Did you send out the email yet? I had another student at the reference desk who insisting on starting with Google. We’ve got to put something about that in there. Why do you sound like you just woke up?”
“I must have fallen asleep.” Mildred leaned back in her chair. “I had the weirdest—” She nearly toppled from her chair when she spotted something on her wall, something that hadn’t been there before. It was a picture of a gruff looking judge who had an extremely prominent facial feature. “Eyebrows,” Mildred whispered.