Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crazy Uncle Steve vs. The Library

I've never been a library guy. They make me vaguely uneasy. I believe this stems from bad childhood memories of research projects gone wrong. Back when computers were just an expensive novelty that only a few uber nerds knew how to use, we had to get all of our information from either The Library, or Crazy Uncle Steve who knew everything and smelled like cheap whiskey. Putting Steve in the bibliography of my History essay was problematic so I was forced to mine facts from the rows of thick tomes under the silent, malevolent gaze of The Librarian. We were taught to fear the wrath of The Librarian, who had been known to cook and eat little boys and girls who damaged books, made too much noise or didn't return things on time.

I'm more of a bookstore guy. They don't give anything away for free so there are no trust issues. You can make as much noise as you want and if you want to buy a book, take it home and deface it that's your prerogative. I'm also less likely to finish a book I didn't pay for and the thin plastic coating they put on all the hardcovers makes me angry. I can't say why, it just does.

However, there is one little corner of the library that I love. A little nook tucked away from the judgmental gaze of the Librarian where loud noises are not the exception, they are the rule. My daughter and I have been spending some time in the oasis that is the Children's Section and it is becoming one of our favorite places to play. It is filled with unfamiliar toys and unfamiliar little people fooling around with them. It is also the home to some of the best books in the whole place (and no plastic book condoms either). We found something on our last trip that has been the source of laughter in our house for weeks now:

I have a newfound respect for my local public library. Not only is it a cultural hub of the community, it is also the home of hard to find literary masterworks like The Dumb Bunnies. It still can't spin a yarn like Crazy Uncle Steve, but it also never called me a Communist and shoved me when I had to take it's car keys away at noon.

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