I’ve figured it out, and it’s not as spectacular as you might think…. The difference between librarians and web programmers is that librarians keep their office lights on while web programmers prefer to type away in comparative darkness.
This insight struck me as I was doing some hunting in the stacks today and spent a few minutes in the ML section, which happens to be right next to the offices of the college’s web services group (who are either privileged or cursed to be the only non-library-related people to have offices in the library). There they sat, bathed in the luminescence of their computer monitors, working busily away.
Emerging from my stack hunting into the brightness of the reference area, I walked past the offices of my fellow reference librarians, each of whom worked under overhead florescent lights that keep at bay all those mysterious shadows in corners.
I haven’t yet worked out what this all means, but I wonder… If I turn out my lights, will I get the urge to build wonderful web applications? If I sneak down and turn on the overhead lights in the web team’s offices, would they suddenly ask me if I needed help finding something?