Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Library Post

I used to love the library but, now I hate it. I have no idea when it happened. It's like going gray. One day you wake up Brooke Shields and the next day you're Bea Arthur.

When I was little, I loved going to the library. Mama would give me a book limit and I'd have a hard time sticking to it. I would carry my stack of books to one of the kid tables, plop it down, and count. One, two, three... aww, I have to put some of them back.

The public library was my quiet, organized, dusty playground.

Somewhere between Blue Lagoon and The Golden Girls, the library became my stifling, musky torture chamber.

The weird thing is that I love book stores. Love them. (The coffee helps.) My husband finds this odd. He can't understand the difference between the public library and a book store.

Oh, there's plenty.

Book store employees. They are hired for their pleasantry. Every now and then, one of the applicants rejected from the post office gets in and infiltrates the ranks. More often, book store employees are friendly, helpful and happy to be there.

Librarians. They are grouchy. They are are there because they like books and organization, not people. They can't understand why you need help finding a book. They have memorized the Dewey Decimal System. Why can't you?

In a back room, behind a stack of National Geographic magazines, covered with an old, chenille bedspread, sits the card catalog. They keep it for the day it will be used again because, this computer trend is just not going to last.

Insert plea for understanding here. For the love of Barnes and Noble, if you are a librarian, I am sure you are lovely and sweet and friendly and you do not wear orthopedic shoes. The fact that you are blogging puts you into a whole other librarian category. Your mere presence improves the Librarian Gene Pool. Stay strong, my rebel friend.

Organization. This one may be what gets me the most. The library is one of the most organized places on earth. There is a place for everything, everything in its place.

Yet this is what drives me crazy.

Here's the kicker. I can't find a thing in the library. I have to go to a computer, type in a subject or author or the name of the book. (I don't even know what book I want.) If that doesn't work, I have to crack the code of the Dewey Decimal system and find the right section, then turn my head sideways to read the titles. In the meantime, the librarian, who has every shelf memorized, does not even ask if I need help.

Give me a book store with huge labels like "History" and "Fiction." They've even got "Home Decorating." All I have to do is walk in, look up, read the gigantic signs and walk over to the shelf. And, get this! Some of the books are shelved so you can read the cover. Genius! I don't have to croon my neck. If I still can't find what I need, the pleasant employee will actually assist me, and she smiles. Wow.

All this, plus coffee.

There is a least one person out there who is thinking, "But the library is free."

I know. But, so are shots at the Health Department and you won't see my lining up for those either.

I'll just stick with my book store with its happy lighting and lattes. You can have the public library with its fluorescent bulbs and public water fountain.

Say "hi" to Maude for me while you're there.


Sarah W. said...

You are hilarious!!!!

Susanne said...

You're hilarious. Would it change your mind if I told you that my library has a coffee shop with real coffee. Fancy coffee. And cookies. They've got cookies. And you can take them anywhere in the library.

Your observance of the card catalog under a chenille spread made me laugh right out loud. I'll have to look for that next time I'm at the library. Yes, I go regularly. I'll give Maude your regards. :v)

Roxanne said...

Our librarians at school don't have the CARDS for the card catalogue--but they DO have the wooden card catalogue house. . .and I would dearly LOVE to get my hands on it for some storage. Alas, they will not part with it.

happygeek said...

Worked in a library for years (doesn't make me a librarian however) and roared with laughter over this whole post.
I still can't fathom paying for a book that you can get free however. Maybe I'm a little more librarian than I care to admit!

Sarah said...

I TOTALLY love the free-ness of the library!! But, like Dollar Tree, you get what you pay for, including customer service. Like you, I could spend ALL DAY in a book store -- but it kills me to pay actual dollars for a book I didn't even damage or lose.

Roxanne said...

Okay. . .I must laugh because the add on the sidebar of your blog right now says, "Silky, smooth, sexy nads."

I have lived with a man too long. . .and you may delete this comment at will.

Andrea said...

Isn't it the truth! I love to go to the library, and I love to buy books. But I have finally gotten to the point where I only want to buy GOOD shelves are full! I go to the library for the in-between stuff.

Christina said...

too funny!!!! You should get paid for writing!

Veronica Mitchell said...

Our city library just renovated and made themselves as friendly and customer-conscious as any bookstore. Their books are even in sections marked things like "Mysteries" "Classics" "Fiction" "Movies" etc. It's really quite lovely. So the good libraries are out there. Maybe you will be near one soon.