This morning I toured a MAGIC LIBRARY. What’s a magic library you say? It is a special collection for magicians, of course! I originally heard about it while reading Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind which is a fascinating book coming out this June about magic and math. So because I always oblige when someone asks for a tour of my library, I decided hey why not and emailed the Conjuring Arts Research Center asking for a tour.
A few things of note:
1. I asked them how they handle collection development since the librarians there seem to be archivists, not magicians. This is when I was informed that they have a “resident magician” (!!!) who does most of the collection development.
2. The librarian explained to me that their most difficult type of researcher is an actual magician. Why? Because they are very good at making things disappear. She was not joking. They have to literally keep careful watch over magician researchers so they won’t make any rare manuscripts POOF disappear.
3. Their catalog, which is only available to members, is called Alexander. I was curious to know where the name came from since most libraries have adorable stories for how they named their online access catalog (although my alma mater’s is named Aladin, which…boring). Turns out it is named after Alexander, a mentalist who was made famous by his ability to read minds. THIS IS A MAGIC LIBRARY JOKE.
4. On my way out, the resident magician performed a trick for me. At first I was excited until I realized it was a trick my dad used to play on us when we were small called Black Magic. The resident magician must have assumed I was a magic rookie.
This is just so awesome I am out of words.