A parliament of librarians…?

So, the library got a new book about owls, which means I am looking at ALL THE OWLS instead of vacuuming or doing dishes or whatever (but don’t worry, they’re not still dishes from that last blog post).

It made me think of the whole periodically-popular fad of listing collective nouns — “official” or otherwise — for various living things that one typically does not think of as needing a group name. The beloved “shush” or “hush” as a group of librarians always bugs me, for reasons that are probably obvious. “Parliament” for owls seemed a little lackluster since it’s used for rooks as well. I do like a “raft” of ducklings, but that’s really neither here nor there…

A related conversation also made me decide that if libraries had an official bird, it should probably be owls. After all, library staff and owls have a lot in common.


They seem to be silently judging you even when they’re (probably) not


They can look wise just by sitting there


They basically have eyes in the back of their heads


They’re curious


And they’re serious and quiet … except for all the times they’re not

So, my second conclusion was that if owls and rooks can go by the same group name (side note: “terms of venery” is a super fun phrase that I know now), a gathering of librarians and a gathering of owls ought to be able to be called the same thing, whatever that may be.

I do rather like a “stare,” which is listed as another term for a group of owls, but that’s only slightly more flattering than “shush,” really. Of course, a parliament of librarians sounds appropriately imposing ….

Finally, my new favorite species of owl as of right now is the Buffy Fish Owl, and not just because it’s inexplicably named Buffy (not Buff or Buff-Colored, mind you, but Buffy) or because the scientific name Bubo ketupu is adorable and sounds like something from the Super Mario world … but because, look at this face:


That is some expert-level owl-ing, right there. Only the most owl of owls could manage to look that calmly, steadfastly unimpressed with the photographer, the weather, and life all at once in a still image. I’m not sure even a cat could match this, except maybe a damp Persian. Some of them do look a lot like damp Persian cats, actually. Anyhow, rock on Buffy Owl, you are a fabulous feathermop and you know it. I will try to capture this expression for my own use the next time I am asked to suggest a good library book for a hypothetical child aged 5-11 who has no interests.


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