Friday, 17 March 2017

A good old fashioned library - does it still exist?

I write with some consternation today of something I recently experienced.

Finding myself in unfamiliar territory recently with some writing work to do, I decided to forgo the cafe thing - which is the current trend - and avail myself of the local library instead.

After seeking directions and a relatively short walk with my laptop slung over my shoulder in a backpack, I found a library.

It was nice. Well fitted out with the usual stuff: computers, printers, photocopiers - oh and books too, although not as many shelves as I expected.

Is that because so much is online today? Are libraries set to go the way of the humble bookshop?

Hope not.

Anyway, yes there were books and magazines and - oh there's the catalogue! A quick search revealed they have copies of both Torn and Inviolate and they're on loan. Excellent - move on!

Selecting a desk behind a row of books where I could write in relative solitude, I set up my laptop, switched my phone to silent and got to work.

So engrossed was I that at first I didn't notice the very loud mobile phone conversation taking place behind a row of books.

I put my head down and tried to continue working but it was impossible. I'd been rudely bounced out of the 'zone' and couldn't get back in.

Hoping it was a short conversation, I opened Facebook and noodled around for a bit. But alas, the enthusiastic conversationalist wasn't letting up.

After about ten minutes of listening to the talker make prolonged and very loud financial arrangements, I lost patience and gave the worldwide, Be-quiet-unless-you've-forgotten- you're-in-a-library signal.


To my astonishment, a librarian poked her head around the row of books, phone still glued to her ear, and gave me a venomous glare!


Adding to my surprise, two girls studying at a nearby table turned to look at me, clearly confused by my rude outburst!

It was then that I noticed the two girls sitting amidst a sea books and - horrors! - McDonald's wrappers, fries and burgers strewn over the table and takeaway drinks in the distinctive Macca's paper cups with straws poking out the top.

Is it just me then? Are libraries no longer the silent sanctuary of readers and studiers?

To say I was shocked is an understatement

I remember, surely not too long ago, where even a whisper was met by threat of death at the hands of the fearsomely stern librarian. There was no eating or drinking, and certainly not within a ten meter radius of any book!

What has happened?

Suddenly I felt old. I was the proverbial fish out of water. What was to be done about this?

Well, the only thing I could do under the circumstances. I offered the librarian my most contemptuous glare and curled my lip at the two staring girls. Then gathering my books, my computer and my dignity, I left the young whippersnappers to their hand-held devices.

Will I go back? Well maybe - I did notice a rather nice looking cafe at the entrance. Perhaps they can do me a decent takeaway coffee.

See you in 14!

From romance to drama it's all here
How's this for a book collection? Be inspired to read.

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