Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Wild, wild Main 

Hello from the Main, the architect of which refused to let his artistic vision be compromised in way by the realities and practical needs of a large urban library. I can only conclude that the architect had to have remained stalwartly, stubbornly deaf to the librarians' increasingly frantic and impassioned pleas about the reality of their work environment. His dreams of a civic showcase included hollowing out the building for a giant atrium to fill the 8 story building. I'm sure he envisioned the atrium filling his showcase with light and and air, but instead it fills the entire building with insectile noise, this constant din and hum that makes one feel as if one is in the bowels of a wasp's nest. When security drags a problem patron out, a frequent occurrence, the patron's screaming and cursing reverberates, the curses ricocheting up and down the entire space of the atrium until they shoot right into the children's area, a particularly unfortunate acoustical trick.

I love my new job, though, although I miss my old branch terribly. Several of my patrons made it down to the Main to wish me well on my first day, which I found extremely touching. The Feisty Old Broad even brought me a box of chocolates. My favorite part so far has been at the front desk watching the patrons walk by, this fascinating parade of every facet of the human condition. Libraries are one of the last great facilities where people from all walks of life come together - - from serious scholars to society matrons to absolute scum of the earth. While E waited outside the library to pick me and gaping at the stream of humanity pouring out she noticed that most patrons left 10 minutes before the library closed, when all of the computers are shut down. She said, "It was like someone set off a huge flea bomb!"

I stopped by your old branch today and missed seeing you. I could always count on you being there on Tuesday afternoons. Glad you are happy at the Main.

Foxy! How touching that your patrons came to wish you well! I loved your statement about libraries being where all walks of life come together. Enjoy Main. Maybe if I get back in your city i can come see your new digs.
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