The Children of Faustus (TCOF) can be traced back to ancient times when librarians formed guilds and unions. COF mythology dates their fraternity back to the building of The Great Library of Alexandria. The project, so legend has it, was so large that it required librarians to organize themselves into groups and classes with distinct responsibilities.
Scholars also speculate that The Children have connections with the Greek and Roman mysteries, which were rites of entering their religions and kept secret upon penalty of death. It is suggested that the founders of Librarianship had knowledge of the secrets of the Mysteries and used them to help form various library Associations and Collectives.
There is written evidence of TCOF dating back to the fourteenth century. In the Middle Ages librarians were an elite class who could travel between countries, unlike serfs who had restrictions on their travel. They called themselves "travellers" because of this. The Librarians were responsible for staffing beautiful structures across Europe, especially private libraries. Until the sixth century, librarians were simply very literate and well-educated people with a respect for the written word.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, membership of library societies began to decline, and elite and prominent members of society were allowed in as "patrons of the language arts". This is where the term "POTLA" comes from...from which the word "potluck" comes, and explains the attitudes of many contemporary library administrators. By the end of the twenthieth century a great change had occurred; the accepted librarians outnumbered the actual library administrators in the unions, and their discussion had turned from aspects of library management to moral philosophy, ethics, and literature.
Sacred or Revered Texts
AACR2 is the "Volume of Sacred Law" of all libraries. It is one of the three objects comprising "The Three Reasonable Lights," the most common and important librarians' symbols, which must be used in libraries. The other objects are The Indespensable Barcode Reader and The Very Useful Book Cart. AACR2 is not kept on public display, as it is generally believed that it is beyond the understanding of the average library patron.
A number of other documents are held in reverence. These include The Lunch Roster, which shows when librarians may leave the library for a break; and The Annual Stocktake Schedule, containing the information necessary for planning leave applications and yearly vacations.
Cult or Sect?
Negative sentiments are typically implied when the concepts "cult" and "sect" are employed in popular discourse. Librarians prefer the terms Round Table or Special Interest Group.
Libraianship is not a religion, despite the pedestal to which it is frequently elevated. It is a fraternal order, although many Christian ideas and ideals are important to librarians and are incorporated in their rituals. Very few human sacrifices are now made in libraries, although incarceration of library fine defaulters seems to be on the increase.
To join The Children of Faustus, one must ask a friend in the Library to recommend him or her, sign a petition stating name, age, favorite author, and place of residence. All the existing members must vote unanimously on the acceptance. The requirement for membership of TCOF is a belief in the supremacy of libraries as places of learning and culture, together with the infallability of librarians.
Applicants deemed unsuitable are presented with a 300 page Policies and Procedures manual, and given 5 minutes to study the document before being subjected to a written examination. This is thought to be a more humane form of rejection than the standard "Thank you for your application, but..." type of letter.
Beliefs of the Group
TCOF basic tenets are:
- mutual support for other librarians who demonstrate competance and commitment, with unending ridicule for those who conform to the public's perception of the stereotypical role and appearance
- a dark pleasure experienced as a result of emphasising the mistakes of others
- service to the community, whether it wants it or not - regardless of the degree of force necessary to achieve this
- tolerance and patience with library patrons, up to a reasonable point
- an appreciation of fine java, or an acceptable substitute
There is a set hierarchy of libraries. Each state or region has a State or Regional Library, and there is a national library (called The National Library) in each country. News of this heirarchy was leaked by the media some years ago, although the general public is still not aware of this.
Within The Children of Faustus, there is no set hierachy. Librarians who have been accepted for membership have universally sold their souls at Library School, and find themselves already in Hell - without the obligatory 24 year waiting period.