Monday, September 8, 2008

miss dewey decimal: on tour

you know i've always fancied myself as a bit of a rock star librarian. well, this saturday i decided to tour some of the other libraries in The System. yup, that's how i spend a saturday afternoon, touring neighborhood libraries. i'm that cool.

i decided i would do this all stealth like, acting as though i am not an employee and seeing how i get treated. i would be rating the libraries on:
1. cleanliness
2. organization
3. friendliness of staff
4. knowledge of staff

the first library i went to was ok, but nothing fab. the employees seemed basically content to be there, but the building itself was a little worn. and it didn't have a huge amount of space for seating and gathering. i view the modern library as a community center, and although the library was bustling with people, i didn't quite feel like i fit in with the "vibe" of the place.

the second library was much larger and had lots of tables and chairs with people doing crazy things like reading books and flipping through newspapers. have you ever heard of such a thing?

sadly, i couldn't help but notice that they had a little bit of a shelving problem. ie: shelves were a mess, books everywhere. this may have been because people were actually reading the books and using them, but still ... get it together people! then i asked a librarian if she could help me find the new augusten burroughs book. i pretended that i didn't know the title and she was very helpful in figuring out which book i was referring to. then she said that their copy was out. she didn't offer to reserve it for me, but when i asked if they had it in audio she was very happy to tell me that the CD version was in. then when i walked over to the audiobooks and i couldn't find it (i couldn't find it because it was mis-shelved), but then she walked over and helped me. i hadn't even asked for further assistance! excellent work. (i'm totally going to rip that shit to my iPod)

overall, i liked the library. if i were there i could whip their staff into shape and get those books in a neat meaningful order. also, i heard through one of the friendly clerks that they'd be going through a renovation soon. one thing about this System is that they actually renovate their libraries, keeping them in decent shape and updating their technology. as opposed to hell's library where they just let their older libraries crumble into various stages of ruin, and then spend millions of dollars building new branches instead of fixing the one's they already have. but i digress.

the third library i went to was very nice, obviously renovated in the not-so-distant past. it was packed with people and the one librarian who was there was running all over the place trying to help people. but he did this in a strange alien way. his mouth was curved upwards ... i believe it's called a smile ... and he appeared to be genuinely enjoying helping people. crazy. and then at one point when i was explaining how the computer reservation system works to my tour-mate, the librarian approached us and asked if we needed help. even though he was super busy! yet again, excellent work.

then the fourth library was in this cool old building, and although the inside was a little run down, it had a lot of character. and i saw a sign advertising all these fun teen programs like a wii tournament and a dance dance revolution night. very cool. i approve.

while on tour i had another one of these "forest for the trees" moments ... first, all these libraries were filled with people on a saturday, and they were all using the library properly (for books, the pursuit of knowledge, and general infotainment). second i noticed that in the immediate areas surrounding the libraries they had things like shops and banks and cafes and restaurants. so a person working at said library could possibly walk to a dining establishment during their lunch hour, get a quick bite to eat, then maybe pick up a few items at a duane reade, deposit their check at the bank, and then go back to work. i kind of forgot that most people get to live like that.

curious. very curious.

4 comments:

ryan manning said...

i am at a library right now

Miss Dewey Decimal said...

hmmm ... creepy.

are you stalking me? fyi: i box and i can most likely kick your ass. just so you know.

also, i hope you're not masturbating to internet porn. we frown on that.

ryan manning said...

you are funny

ryan manning said...

there is nothing creepy about being at a library, i am not stalking you, i am not looking at porn, i am looking at your blog