The Struggling Writer

The chronicles of a freelance writer as he tries to make a living.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Libraries - What Happened?

Recently I was thinking about writing an article for Learning Through History, a print magazine aimed at middle school students. For something like that, online research won't cut it. You have to break down and use those old fashioned book things. So I headed down to my local library.

Other than my stint over Thanksgiving, I haven't been in a public library in probably twenty years. My how things have changed since my day. Back then libraries were places to study. That meant you were supposed to SHUT THE HELL UP!

On my left I had a woman on her cell phone. That's not bad since, contrary to popular belief (and practice), you can have a quiet cell phone conversation. She, however, was using the speakerphone feature.

On my right I had two guys carrying on a conversation while standing over fifty feet apart. Downstairs was the woman with the screaming two year old. The real kicker was when I heard someone shriek, "Woohoo!" I looked up and realized that was one of the staff. I can accept that the visitors might not know to keep quiet, but the freaking library staff should behave better.

My experience was further enhanced by their Wi-Fi. I wanted to complement my book research with some online work. I understand that the library has to lock sites out to avoid abuse. But I'm a little confused when I can get to Blogger, but not to two sites about the history of the Byzantine Empire. I'm also confused when I can't access the library's own website to use their online card catalog.

I lasted about a half hour before giving up. It was pretty close to deadline and I figured it was only about 50-50 that I'd get it done anyhow. Plus it's writing on spec which is always a little shaky.

I'll try again next month. I won't go back to the same library. Instead I'll drive into Phoenix and use one of the "big city" libraries in hopes my experience will be better. If not, I'll have to break down and get a library card so I can take the stuff home. I was hoping to avoid that since that just means a second trip to return the books and maybe more trips to get additional titles. Plus, of course, you can't check out the reference books anyhow.

I suppose if worse comes to worse I can just take my Walkman to blot out my noise. Oh, wait, it's "take my iPod" now. Well, something with headphones anyhow.


  • At 9:47 AM, Blogger Sun Singer said…

    Hmm, must be time to a letter to the editor about the noise party at the library. Use a pseudonym for the letter.



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