The Last Librarian

Books. It had always been the books; books were sunshine; books were freedom.

Now books were warmth; warmth for frozen fingers. Warmth in winter of his concrete dwelling.

He had tried to read them first. But he couldn’t keep up with the craving needs of frozen fingers.

Eagerly he had fed the flames with Burns and Shakespeare. Tearfully he watched them burn; mumbling poetic fragments from his memory.

Where did it all go wrong?

Why was he the last librarian?

In vain. He traced the spines of the last few volumes.
One day they would tell. Today was his death-day.

Copyright Randy Maze

Copyright Randy Maze

After reading Rochelle’s story, I couldn’t help but thinking of burning books and went into dystopia. It would be a sad day when we had to burn the last words to save us from freezing to death. I could see this happening unfortunately.

Friday Fictioneers is a blogging community under the management of chief librarian Rochelle Wissoff-Field’s management. Head over to here page and read her story and other’s on the same picture.

November 26, 2014

82 responses to “The Last Librarian

  1. Dear Bjorn,

    There is a book called Vandenberg that ends in a similar way. Not sure I could warm myself with the destruction of a book. A great take on the prompt. sir.



  2. Bjorn, Well done. It would truly be a tragedy to have to burn books to stay alive. Let’s hope it never even comes close to that. I think there was also the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” where survivors are in a librabry and have to burn books to keep warm. Well written. 🙂 — Suzanne

  3. Can’t think of this story without thinking of our buddy Ray B. Not so much for Fahrenheit 451, but for his love of books and one of his short stories about a library. You hilt the soft spot with me, Bjorn. Books might disappear, but reading will continue.

  4. What a gut wrenching scenario!
    Powerful, in its portrayal of what might probably happen one day.
    The technology is a blessing that way, preserving the words of these books in the cocoon of its codes and signals.
    I hope that you are doing good. 🙂

  5. Enjoyed this piece. Only thing I would say is, for me, it would be better without the last bit i.e. “In vain…” onwards. Just feels like it should have stopped with the two questions.

  6. I hope it never comes to the point where there is only one librarian left….and that books are required to be burned. Yikes, that would be the end of the world, I guess.

  7. Great work Bjorn — reminds me a bit of The Day After Tomorrow, where the freezing “patrons” are debating which books to burn first — to keep hypothermia at bay. Very well done —

  8. This story absolutely captures the horror of watching the last books in the world burn. Like a couple of the other commenters, I too thought of Henry Beamis, the character in the Twilight Zone episode.

  9. Reminds me of Fahrenheit 451 with the last of the good books being burned away. But this is an interesting twist making the book’s burning a necessity to stave off something even more terrible.

  10. sad to think that the libraries are dwindling…ours has been working hard to modernize a bit…i always thought it would be fun to work among the books….maybe when i retire….and burning books…ack…

  11. Another take on burning books – nicely done, the sadness of the librarian really comes through as he is forced to burn the things he loves to survive.

  12. Good story! The burning of books were to squelch knowledge…keeping the people dumb would lead to them not questioning the authority in power…Loved the way you created this and it reminds me of that recent movie with the son being stuck in the freeze inside that library in New York City! Well done1

  13. Sad but if the need to keep warm and alive is there….Mao Zedong had many Chinese classics burnt in his crazed times. It’s our tragedy.


  14. A powerful and sad story. In one of the comments you said that books are sometimes the better part of humanity. I agree; books communicate our ideas, our fantasies, our history and our future. Unfortunately, they also make good kindling.

  15. Dear Bjorn, Such a wonderful, yet depressing story. I do think that if it came down to my children freezing (or me) or saving the printed word, the kids would win every time. Really a thought-provoking story Bjorn – and very well done! Nan 🙂

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