The collection here has dwindled. We were threatened with a summer weeding project at the end of the spring semester that has not yet happened in my office, though I'm vaguely aware of the maze of book carts full of superseded statutes stamped DISCARD that populate the entryway. So someone somewhere in this library must be making choices. It makes sense. The law can be a living breathing thing at times and our serials were constantly evolving, making online the ideal place to put them. It has been that way since the Internet began its inevitable journey toward self awareness. You may think I'm joking when I say that but just watch. The Internet already has the ability to finish your thoughts; finishing your LIFE is right around the corner. (Side note: I have got to stop reading dystopian fiction.)
At any rate, even though the collection has thinned out, it is still there. I do now and have always felt at home inside libraries of all types. On my latest jaunt through the stacks I was plunged in a reverie that, for lack of anywhere else to put it and having to fill 31 days of blog entries, I am going to share with you.
It likely started in my grade school library which, amazingly enough, I cannot remember anything about, apart from the books I read there. Such as this one:
And it continued on into my being propelled from the deep south into the wilds of Long Island at the age of 12, when I would be one of the only attendees at library programs at my neighborhood library (until such time as I stopped going to that branch altogether when, after dropping a copy of Thornton Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" into the overnight drop box, some hooligan decided to pour water into the box, destroying all the books inside and the library wanted to charge ME for the damage! Pish tosh.) My high school library was nothing to write home about which I always found strange since it was a private school and I assumed they would have a nice library. I remember that it was run by the nuns of the school and was situated directly across from the chapel on the 2nd floor, which I only ever entered once in four years. I don't remember the librarian nor the books I read there but that can be attributed to the fact that on the rare occassions I used that tiny room it was during study halls and study halls were for alternately cracking up at unfathomably stupid jokes with friends and passing notes back and forth about all the cute boys that wouldn't give me the time of day. I'd actually really like to see that library today. I'm guessing it is 90% computer terminal and 100% nun.
David Foster Wallace, Thomas Hardy, Carson McCullers, John Irving, Anne Sexton....all of these authors practically fell into my lap down in the musty stacks of my college library. I will just never have it that good again.
Oh yeah, and then I became a librarian. For better or worse, I quickly found out that being a librarian has nothing to do with reading, really. I mean sure, everyday I find myself in the middle of a colossal stockpile of reading material but could I get away with doing my job(s) without ever reading another book? Yes. That will never happen yet the thought occurred to me as I wandered a bit through the stacks, wishing I had time to find a corner to hide inside with a randomly selected book. Instead I'm back in my ice cold office, typing this up and simultaneously processing paperwork that will eventually put more books on the shelves or databases on the website. It isn't all bad. Even though the stacks get thinner year by year and even though the shelves are filled with law books so dry they make me thirsty, at least I can still have an aimless wander through them now and again.