What do librarians do? What principles lie behind the profession? Librarians have traditionally gathered, organized, and disseminated information. In some ways, Aristotle can be said to be the father of librarianship in the West. His categories were a scheme for deciding what something was about. They survive today in the rules of journalism. Who, what, when, where, why, by what means, and to what end? This scheme for organizing thought is still viable. Aristotle did not run a library in the modern sense, but he was one of the recorded collectors of books.Many other philosophers have served as librarians over the centuries. They include Hypatia, Librarian of the Great Library of Alexandria, one of the profession’s most interesting early proponents. She was certainly not the only member of her circle concerned with recorded knowledge. Her friend, Synesius of Cyrene, wrote “my life has been one of books.” However, Hypatia’s professionalism and her untimely demise are of interest to the present day. The former was characterized by what we now call “advocacy skills”, and the latter revolved around what we might call a “challenge to intellectual freedom”.

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