Love Your Local Library

October 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I spent some time at my local library this week and had forgotten how great libraries really are.  I’m an avid book lover (my mom must have known I would be when she named me) and I pretty much love being in the presence of books.  Granted, there are some libraries that are more spectacular than others, and that holds true for Chicago as well.  My local branch isn’t the biggest or the best but they do give me books and internet for free, so how can I really complain?

This is not from my library, though I wish it was. I think it's beautiful.

My library also allowed me to go ahead and take care of this whole voting thing, which I did on Tuesday.  I can now avoid long and tedious lines of my designated polling place on November 2nd, which will allow me to either sleep in a little or (hopefully) work instead.  The voting was quick and painless but I’m glad it’s over.

Of course, there are people from every walk of life at public libraries.  While I was there on Tuesday, I was taking some standard computer proficiency tests for a position I was applying for (they only worked on PC’s and I lack one of those).  The tests were timed and since I haven’t worked in Excel or PowerPoint in years, I was needed every brain cell available.  Some kid (okay he wasn’t a child but he was younger than me) was sitting next to me and decided to try and tell me his life story while I was working (he just got a puppy and is surprised at how much work they are…).  I politely explained to him that I was taking a timed test and then he wanted to know what I was taking it for, what kind of jobs I’d had and where I lived.  I’m all for being friendly to people but there are times that the I’m-Going-To-Completely-Ignore you tactic I learned from having a sibling comes in handy and that was one of those times.

The library I had in my hometown growing up wasn’t much to behold but it did a decent job.  That’s where I learned to use a

My first library...unfortunately there was no picture of the gay-friendly sign

card catalog, a skill that’s pretty much obsolete nowadays.  I used to volunteer there back in grade school and it’s also one of the first places I remember getting on the Internet.  It now has a new sign out front that is rainbow-colored.  I like to think that means that the library is especially welcoming of its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patrons but it was most likely done to be colorful and with no intention of recruiting the queers.  I did lots of research at this library growing up and then when I moved on to college, I did lots more.  However by that point most research could be done online so my need of physically walking to the library sadly diminished.  The main library on my college campus was quite impressive though and is the 13th largest library in North America.  There are stacks and stacks of research volumes in the library (this area is conveniently called “The Stacks”) and I know of a few college kids who got their kinks by hanging out in there with their significant others.  Not me, of course, since I have far too great of a respect for the written word than to do that.  Just trust me that it happened.

Chicago has dozens of libraries here in the city and I’m lucky enough to be good friends with a librarian who works at one.  I know the job isn’t as easy as it would seem and I think the men and women who work at these places should be applauded for the crap they put up with just to promote literacy.  With all of the new technology these days, I hope there are still kids out there who get more enjoyment from actually turning the pages of a book than looking at a computer screen.  Wow, I sound like I’m 85.  Well I don’t care, sometimes being a book nerd does strange things to your mind.  We’re also prone to paper cuts.

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