Monday, November 24, 2008

Where is the book teaching backward driving?

My brother is a librarian and I love books, but I haven't been to a library in close to 15 years.

I went a few times when I lived in North Carolina so I could satisfy my Alex Cross fetish without having to buy those big honking mystery thrillers. The thing I remember most about that library was that they did not charge fines for returning books late.

I went today to the local library here and soon realized why I am not a fan.

I found the first book I wasted easy enough. World War Z by Max Brooks was right where it should have been and I only had to kick out of the way one of those rolling step stools. I am pretty excited by it, not only because the author is Mel Brooks' son. I started it and it is neat.

It was the nonfiction books that presented the problems.

First of all, our supposedly superfunded library was without any titles by this author recommended to me. They did have several works by esteemed actor and star of TV's Wonder Years Fred Savage.

Instead, I decided to go with a book by Sarah Vowell, who makes me laugh. It was in the 932 area of the nonfiction. I rode the elevator down to the nonfiction and stopped.

The aisle numbers, which are at wheelchair height, do not correspond to the Dewey decimal system numbers. I found right aisles and by chance glanced up and saw at eye level for standing adult was the Dewey stuff.

I could not find my Sarah Vowell book. (Yes, Mom, I should have let you write down the numbers.) So I went to the end of two long aisles looking. On the way back out I took a book or two or five with me.

I am actually not proud of this. There was no room to turn around, and while I wish I could back up straight, the skill eludes me. And the odd-size books just hang off the shelves, asking for a smacking.

Bearing the brunt of my wheeled attack was a book about the Mayan ruins, IN COLOR, it shouted. I picked it up, saw the black-and-white photos and decided it deserved it.

I suppose I could find books via the Internet and have Mom pick them up, but that kind of defeats the purpose of browsing in a library. And perhaps worst of all: Getting caught in a library after it closes so it is just you and the books, that is kind of a dream of many book lovers. But now, being caught would really mean caught. I'd probably get trapped and the staff would find my withered corpse one day.

Knowing my luck, I'd have gotten stuck in an aisle about fashion or women's health issues.

In other news, I go back to work tomorrow. today my company announced coming layoffs.

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