David Rabbitborough's A to Z of Australian Species

 

THE LIBRARIAN

Many species make their homes amongst particular substances. Like the silverfish, the librarian lives amongst books and papers. Inside their burrows, called libraries, they construct a sort of maze of books stacked from floor to ceiling, in which visitors become quickly lost.

The stacks in these nests seem random yet this fussy little animal seems to know where every book is located at any given time. If you make your way cautiously through such a labyrinth, it is possible to actually get a glimpse of one of these painfully shy creatures. Normally fawn or grey in colour, it makes the noise "shhhhhhh", when disturbed. Their eyes unused to the daylight, they live their lives out in the dim seclusion of the stacks, constantly moving piles of books from one place to another.

Despite their reclusiveness, they are capable of becoming quite excited especially when a new shipment of books arrive and they descend on it feverishly to unwrap, label and catalogue them. They can also become quite passionate about rare editions and giggle hysterically at misprints.

They can , however, turn surprisingly ferocious as those who have tried returning a book that's four months overdue have discovered. They are seldom however truly dangerous, unless of course you make the mistake of asking them a question, for librarians are such stupefyingly dull creatures that they have been known to bore people to death simply explaining how to use the catalogue.

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