In her review of Marilyn Johnson’s This Book Is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, Pagan Kennedy links librarians and obituary writers:
They are people who struggle to bring the dead back to life. Johnson’s characters desperately care about half-forgotten brawlers, freedom fighters and canine celebrities. They are the guardians of all there is to know. It doesn’t matter whether they carry on their efforts in analog or digital format. For they are waging the holy battle to resurrect the entire world, over and over again, in its entirety—keeping every last tidbit safe and acid free.
This reminded me of something from John Milton’s Areopagitica:
books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous dragon's teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.