Saturday, July 12, 2008

the library revisited

the library. my new hangout.
so i went to the local library today. since i haven't actually visited a library since, oh i dunno... 2005, i decided i should check my membership online to: a) see how much money i owed in late and/or lost books; and b) see if my membership had expired. i was right on both counts. what i should have been doing, however, was preemptively brushing up on my basic prerequisite library skills. it's not that i don't read, because i do. but my idea of picking up a new book typically entails browsing Barnes & Noble while sipping a grande sugar free non-fat vanilla latte. two hours and thirty bucks later, i'm good to go. but, with my ever present attempt at curbing my reckless spending and my newfound desire to read more, i decided it would be wise of me to dust off (or in my case, pay off) my library card and check out some books. needless to say, i have forgotten everything i learned in the 5th grade about the dewey decimal system. why can't all non-fiction books just be organized as like the fiction, you know, alphabetically? i didn't want to look as conspicuous as i felt so instead of asking the desk clerk for help, i walking aimlessly up and down the non-fiction aisles, trying futilly to make sense of this organizational chaos and these secret dewey number codes. what? were we supposed to commit the decimal system to memory?

i was able to find the book i wanted in the computerized catalog, but unfortunately, there was no secret code on my non-fiction book, which made NO sense to me. despite my blatant ignorance, i did know that thye book i was looking for was non-fiction. admittedly, i love a challenge. i was even slightly amused by the whole ordeal, but at the same time, i was beoming increasingly unnerved by the fact that, at almost 32 years old, i am obviously imcompetent of checking out a libary book. first graders do this stuff every day.

i eventually resorted to using one of the internet computers to google "dewey decimal system". at least i knew which range of numbers my book should be in. so, after fruitlessly browsing those categories. i finally gave up and did what anyone with my level of stubborn defiance would do. i call chris on my cell phone and [hunched over in an aisle and whispering] said, "okay, clearly, i have no idea what i am doing here". he gave me a brief synopsis of his memory of the ddc, which by the way, wasn't much better than mine and advised me to simply ask someone. i hung up. by this point, i've been on the 2nd floor of the library for a solid hour, still emptyhanded. what began as my amusement at my inadequacy was slowly eroding into frustration, which would soon give way to an angry rage, thus ruining my whole library experience. i felt i was too far in the battle to turn back and ask for help or wave my white flag of defeat. on the other hand, it was saturday and i wanted to go back home eventually. i finally, reluctantly and begrudgingly asked for help and the desk clerk, without even consulting her computerized catalog, walks me directly to it. it was, for reasons i will never know, hidden in the biography section, which have a special section all their own with no secret codes, but with a big letter "B" and the first three letters of the authors last name. i would have never found it.
is there a book called "visiting the library for dummies"? because i totally need it. sheesh. no wonder bookstores have fared so well. people would rather buy a book that they're going to read one time rather than borrow it from the gauntlet of the local library. from now on, i'll be reserving my books ahead of time online. then, they're on a nice little rack at the front entrance with your last name on them waiting for you. maybe i'll be able to find those, if they're alphabetical.
so two hours and a whopping $49 later, i leave with an armload of books. but i have to say, i'm still feeling a little shafted without my sugar free vanilla latte.

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