Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shun the grad student, Charlie. Sshhhhhuuuuunnnnnnn.


In the spirit of attempting to keep this to amusing and interesting life stories and not letting it become Another Cancer Blog, here's something I posted on myspace about this past Sunday, which made me rather cranky. I even took a picture of me being cranky (it's part of a school project if you can believe that.) I fully expect lambasting from Pam, who has decided to forgo all of her spare time and possible spare cash to in fact spend more time in libraries:

(11.11.07) I should have stayed home and had a beer

The end of the term is fast approaching and because I spent a month focused on my dad and not much else, I've lost a lot of time at work and in school. Working crazy hours to catch up has cut into my homework time, and I lost every weekend in October to 90% trips to NH and 10% heavy drinking to deal with trips to NH... suffice it to say this weekend has been crucial in getting my academic act together.

This past Monday one of my teachers lectured the class on how great libraries are, and to be honest, I was a little ashamed as I realized that I used to love libraries, and I still do enjoy going to the Copley library to study, but I don't think of them as useful resources for information any longer. How could I have abandoned libraries, that made advanced reading material available to me much earlier than my parents would have allowed (i.e. reading "Go Ask Alice" when I was 10)? Libraries, that have such great sales on the first Saturday of every other month and let me find such classics as the now-out-of-print "Preppy Handbook" and only charge me 25 cents for it. How could I have forsaken them? So today I declined a second bloody mary with Melissa and headed into town to make my peace with the library.

Except apparently the library is still pissed at me.

The only BPL branch open on Sundays is the Copley branch, and it's only open from 1 - 5. I entered the building at 1:08. By 1:20 I was storming out, empty handed and furious. I had found the correct floor, found a few helpful items in the electronic catalog, and a reference librarian had pointed me in the right direction. Except when I got to that area, all of the books on RFID (the topic I'm researching for not one but two papers) were gone. And not checked out, because they were in-library use only. And not being used, because there were no empty spaces in which to re-shelve the books. Just GONE. Not a single one of the four books I had expected to find were either there or in neighboring sections. No matter, I had written down some more call numbers in another section... but the same story waited for me there. Weird, right? So I went back to the reference desk and explained the situation.

REFERENCE LIBRARIAN: Do you have a call number?
ME: Yes, it was the one I showed you about four minutes ago when you pointed me in that direction. None of the books are there.
RL: (blank look) I don't know.
ME: (pause in disbelief) Um. Well. OK. Are any other branches open today?
RL: No, we're the only one. (pulls out sheet with branch information to show like 4 billion other libraries listed, all closed on Sundays)
ME: Um. OK. Um.
RL: You should try a bookstore.
ME: A bookstore? Really?
RL: Yes, bookstore.
ME: Bookstore.
RL: Bookstore.

In a day when libraries are fighting to stay open and get people in the door, their big selling points as far as I can see are A. knowledgable and helpful staff; B. a wide selection of old and new materials; C. they're free. A bookstore is none of these things. But to a bookstore I suppose I shall go, shunned by the library as I have shunned it.

Farewell, library. We had some good times together. But I guess the day has come for us to both move on.

***written from the Simmons College library, where the very few books on RFID they do have are actually e-books and accessed through an e-book website, once again defeating the purpose of my being at a library, particularly when there is a girl on the designated quiet study floor eating rice cakes like Peter Griffin eating potato chips in Anne Frank's attic.