Monday, 19 December 2011

Due Back: [12. JUL 1972]

 It’s the first real day of my Christmas holidays and at 9am this morning I went to my local library to work. After crawling through the traffic and weaving between the shoppers I finally stepped into a blissfully quiet library.

This place used to be a second home to me. I knew the stacks intimately, I could locate books with incredible speed- I should have become a librarian. There is something peaceful and right about libraries. I know that people find the quiet unnerving or artificial and the atmosphere intimidating but I’ve never felt that way. In academic libraries I’ve felt flickers of those emotions, often when I look up to see leather-bound tomes bigger than paving slabs towering above me and realise I’ve unwittingly stumbled into the law section. Normally though, I head straight to the classics section, grab a book off my list, curl up in an armchair and lose myself in another world. Sometimes, I don’t even read when I’m there, I just walk between the book cases picking out books and reading snippets.

However, going to university meant becoming a regular at the universities library, trawling endlessly for statistics book hidden in obscure corners and not shelved according to their shelf-mark, frustrating to say the least. And my home library, I have discovered, is not that different. My university though that a friendly thing to do would be to set a book review of a revolutionary piece of literature. Due the first day back. Thank you. Just thanks. 

I did feel sorry for the librarian who had to make three trips to the basement into the basement to hunt out the 4 elusive books I needed but really, I thought, if they were on the shelves I could have found them on my own and saved her the trouble. It seems logical until you look at the borrowing slip on the front page.
12. JUL 1972
That is the first date one of my books was borrowed and in the 39 years since it was first issued, this one and only copy of the book has been borrowed exactly 39 times, the last time by me. 
The other books show similar lending patterns.

Now I see why they’re kept in the basement.

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