I have always been fascinated with, and occasionally depressed
by, how archives and those who care for them are described in
literature. I was reading Gypsy Rizka by Lloyd Alexander with my
12 year old and found the following description I thought municipal
clerks might enjoy:
"Mr. Fibich was town clerk, notary, archivist, and general
administrative dogsbody. The gnomelike clerk lived in a cubbyhole
in the cellar of the town hall, surrounded by mountains of old
documents, landslides of certificates, licenses, and forms he could
never hope to complete. To console himself, he read fairy tales,
which he adored."
This would fall into that category of depressing description, but Mr.
Fibich turns out to be one of the story's heroes, repeatedly saving
the town government from error by reminding them of various by-
laws, codes, and decisions from the minutes. Of course, since
this is fiction, the town council is not always receptive to this