Archive for libraries

Hard-Hitting, Clear-Headed Reviews of Libraries

Posted in Reviews and Recs with tags , , , on 05/31/2011 by Tim

Today I went to the library, and then I wrote about it. As I skulked around the stacks like a weirdo, taking photos of books and windows, I planned to complain about the lack of organization in the music section, how the only nod to alphabetic sorting is a grouping of everything by its first letter, so that it’s all a jumble, eight or nine stacks of J or whatever, but then when I got to the albums a librarian was sorting them all with the determined and undaunted grumbles of someone up against a hard but beatable challenge. Bless that woman. I still couldn’t find any of the albums I wanted to check out, but I’ll report back after my next attempt.

I will probably also carry this series of library reviews forward. Des Moines had a pretty unfortunate library system and then around 2005 or 2006 they built a new downtown library with free underground parking, a cafe, two fancypants levels with recliners that faced wide windows overlooking the lawn outside and, beyond that, downtown’s buildings. Their downtown branch went from a cramped and yellowed maze that looked like something from an old elementary school to something modern and airy and well-stocked.

I’m curious to check out the Minneapolis library system as well. The website does not inspire confidence, but I have high hopes.

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#104: The Librarian Patrols the Third Floor for Sleepers

Posted in Story Every Day with tags , , on 10/27/2010 by Tim

The librarian hated this part of the job: the fast pass, the slow pass, the slower pass ending in a stop. Saying sir. Saying sir again. The eyes opened fast wet and dull or the eyes opened bright with surprise and then indignation. But she had to stop but she took an extra pass because the man in front of the windows was slumped deep and so still that she could almost see his dreams. Whenever she got to this point, to stopping next to them, her cart silent if she had the cart, she wondered what they dreamt, if they dreamt of warm beds and clean shirts and desk jobs or if they’d never had those things or had had them but no longer wanted them and instead dreamt of fast food burritos or cigarettes or of strange and unexpected things like sex with people who didn’t exist or like clouds that turned into monsters and fell and ate cities, which was what she dreamt of.