Inside of a dog it is too dark to read

Of the many places downtown I find that I have a special place in my heart for the library.  I know that it is a crappy late 70’s building and it is way overcrowded.  Actually I kind of like the crowd.  It tells me that Olympians really use their library.  I like that I see people from all walks of life there.  And though it is a late 70’s vintage building it seems to have taken on a special character due to the people that frequent it.  Besides it is right next to Fertile Ground and Media Island and the cool street furniture and art at the intersection, and you all know how much I love intersections.

We do need a new library, not to reduce the crowds or the proximity between users, I like the cheek and jowl that goes on at the library.  Any new building would represent what the community wants in the library, hopefully from the get go.  No doubt it will evolve from there.  I suspect that there will be a new library in our future.  I’d like to see a larger library, to be sure, with more materials available on the shelf.  I’d like to see more room for the various functions that currently require rationing by the library.

I’d also like to see that the library, when the new building is built, provide some new services for the public.  I’d like to see later hours.  At least to midnight.  I’d like to see year round Sunday hours.  I’d like to see public showers.  Huh?  Hey, if you are going to build a building from the ground up it is at that point you add the features needed by the community.  One of the things that the homeless need in Olympia is a place to shower, and also do laundry.  So adjacent to the library, when it is built, I’d propose a wash room, staffed by volunteers where people could shower and do laundry. The library, by its very nature is a drop in center for the homeless, and a finer place I can’t imagine.  Let the library be more humane in the future, longer hours, a place to get clean and to clean up your act.

^@^

Comments

I've long been a fan of

I've long been a fan of libraries and the library profession. You may have heard me go on my law library tangent. If there is one thing we can be proud of innovating as a country, its the library. Libraries make me truly proud to be an American.

I also like the crowdedness of our library. I like the awkward tension that you get when you have to step over someone or squeeze by them in the aisles. I mean, I don't like it in a perverted way. I like it because you feel like like you know someone's secret-they are in the same 100 of the Dewey Decimal system as you. Its like you're part of some conspiracy of people having an affair with the same non-fiction.You politely pretend to not notice what they're reading, but internally you take note.

While the internet has many wonderful benefits, it will never offer that.I appreciate technology, but analog is my first and greatest love. And the library is the best that tactile, analog information has ever created.

I have long been an advocate of replacing our (so-called) education system with libraries. If libraries had all the resources of schools, then academics would be hired on as references. We would have floors of our libraries just dedicated to brilliant minds as human references. We would end compulsory schooling and private universities all together. All you would need is a local address and learning would be free. (As long as you returned your borrowed materials.)

We could librarize other resources, too. Someone I know told me that at their home-town library you could borrow framed art for a period of three months. I've seen libraries where you can borrow puppets and toys.In the Boston area the libraries give away a limited number per day of free passes to local educational and historical attractions like museums, gardens, and the aquarium.Tools, art supplies, media equipment, moving trucks?

I concur, Crenshaw. We should fund the bejeezus out of the library. Its at once the most effective government project to date, and the most successful revolution.

Jade

Art, games, computers, and the analog way

I, too, have seen libraries loan out art, sculpture, computers, toys, costumes, and a variety of other resources.  Some will loan out tools along with the manual to fix your car.  A place were people gather together for the purpose of knowledge acquisition always has attractions for me.   One of the things that I've always tried to get libraries to have is open sorting shelves for the books just returned.  The librarians always agree with me that the most tantilizing books are always the ones people have just returned.  What a treasure trove of guilty pleasures would be an open sorting shelf where you could peruse the goodies the people have just returned.

Along with Nazis, I'd suggest we all adopt a librarian.

"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^
"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^

Adopt a librarian? Are you mad?

Have you ever eaten with one? Once librarians leave the confines of the library itself, out in the real world, they are nothing but trouble. Adopting a librarian would be like raising a baby caiman. Cute at first, but after awhile it becomes an enormous, dangerous and deadly creature that has to be released in the dead of night into the Fetid Lake of Doom when no law enforcement is watching. Librarians are something like that too. But, on the plus side, in the fight against caimans, librarians will fearlessly be on the front lines.

halloflibrarians

In defense of librarians

One of Olympia best is a librarian and a blogger. Two blogs actually, three if you count another comic blog that I don't read.

Librarian and comic-drawer? Is it so strange it actually makes sense?

Someone who is a librarian

Someone who is a librarian and a cartoonist?! Impossible!

A radical bunch, I must say

Mao Tse-Tung
Casanova
Lewis Carroll
Karl Marx
Laura Bush
J. Edgar Hoover
The Brothers Grimm
Benjamin Franklin
Batgirl

All have been librarians.  A strange lot, too be sure. 

"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^
"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^

My point exactly. Take

My point exactly. Take Hoover for example. He was a cataloger for the Library of Congress. And he used that same sort of system of information management and access to create his own little fiefdom. Catalogers are a subspecies within librarianship that are perhaps the most dangerous of all. On the surface they appear to be mild, cardigan-wearing, solitary figures quietly working in the hidden back rooms or basements of libraries. But in reality they wield enormous power. And when they use that power for eeeeeeeeeevil, they turn out like J. Edgar Hoover. Catalogers! Shudder. Did you know part of a cataloger's job is to measure the height of a book in centimeters? Now, imagine them in the front lines with their centimeter rulers when the final battle between humans and caimans take place at the Fetid Lake of Doom. Perhaps the time has come to start recruiting the catalogers now just to be sure they will use their incredible powers for good and not the opposite (i.e. eeeeeeeeeevil).

In the Obscuro Comix Sound Effect Dictionary elsewhere here in OlyBlog, look up "Arrr! Harrr!" under the letter "A" for a peek inside the Amazing Hall of Librarians.

Unitarians

Catalogers are the Unitarians of the library world.  Misunderstood, yet they seem to be legitimate.  Your job description is pretty much right on, but do people really know what catalogers really do?  Same thing about Unitarians, people know they are a religion, but no one really knows what they do, and that leads people to suspeicion and a bit of mistrust.  Having said that, catalogers probably deserve their reputations.  It could very well have something to do with the fresh books hot off the press off-gassing.

"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^
"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^

So what we have to do is get

So what we have to do is get the catalogers on our side when the Final Battle with the caimans comes to pass on the shores of the Fetid Lake of Doom. As J. Edgar Hoover (America's all-time worst public servant) has shown, there is nothing meaner and more dangerous than a cataloger with a grudge. I can personally identify as many as a dozen catalogers in the Olympia area that I know of, although some of them are in fact now ex-catalogers, having used 12 steps to overcome the cataloging disease. But with the right incentives, we could make them relapse, just like Clint Eastwood in "The Unforgiven." We can hire them as a bibliographic "Dirty Dozen" and have them use those centimeter rulers as the ultimate weapon against the odious reptiles.

So when will those caimans make their big move? Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in a decade. That's the Hell of it.

Himmler

I just read this book The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust. Book is about the Nazi research institute the Ahnenerbe. Himmler was obviously much much too into cataloguing. 

Since Nazis created our current caiman problem: I'd like to tie a nice tidy link between cataloguing, Nazis, and the foul creatures......but I can't figure out how. What exactly did I drink at the first OlyBlog Broho gathering?

Here's a possible tie-in.

Himmler even looked like a cataloger. Frightening. But then again, all of Hitler's inner circle looked like geeks. Here's a possible tie-in. Ilse Koch, the highest ranking woman in Nazi Germany who was known also as the "Bitch of Buchenwald" was in her former life-- a librarian. An even worse example than Hoover of librarians using their vast power for eeeeeevil. We need to channel the power of our local catalogers for good in the noble fight against the ever-growing legion of caimans.

As another aside, Americans use the spelling "Cataloger" while the Anglophiles insert the extra "u."

I agree about longer hours,

I agree about longer hours, open at least at 8, close no earlier than 10.

I'd also like to see a little bit of return to the original mission of the library, as an engine of democracy. In this cheap book and bookstore era, this means something different than it used to.

The future of our library would make a good topic for the September 28 Town Hall meeting, don't you think?

Another good link (ok, two)

About libraries and democracy: To Inform Democracy

And, here is my bright idea about libraries.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend...

I will make the argument that libraries are the only thing government does well.  Librarians have long stood for the public's freedom to get their hands on information.  Libraries are ususally the step children of government today.  The funding is not a priority and the funding dries up first when governments have trouble with their budgets.  If a government is having trouble with a budget that means the public is having trouble with its budget at home.  When money is tight the library is the absolute most necessary thing you can have.

Libraries all over our country have a history of serving homeless populations, some better than other, some more compassionate than others.  You can go back to the early 1900's and read articles in the papers about the "problems" libraries think they are having with the homeless.  I do think that Olympia becomes a very grim place after the library closes each day if you are homeless.  We all know that reading a copy of the Wall Street Journal at the library is not the first priority of a homeless person.  A library does provide a place to rest, warmth, shelter, and some facilities to tend to bodily needs.  Truth is that you start hanging out in a library and the truth (in the form of education) will come to you.

When the time comes to plan the new library I will hope they realize that the library does have a mission in serving the homeless.  I will make it my priority to let them know this.  In the past I have seen libraries make rules targeting the homeless, this is not as bad in Olympia as I have seen other cities, but the library has to see the homeless as a vital part of their mission and not as a problem to policy away.

"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^
"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^

Outside of a blog...

What if it wasn't an issue of funding, per se? We have many wonderful educational resources in Olympia that could, with a little collaboration, become a formidable hybrid beast of learning. Okay, so we need funding to get a bigger building. But once inside that building, we invite the Free School, FreeGeek, a freebox, etc. A childcare co-op. A yellow bike project. Showers and laundry. A team of volunteer ambassadors to orient people, keep the peace and start discussions. A community garden. This is the civic center I want to see. Can we do it? I know we can. Let's put it on the council's agenda, search for extra funding (if it's not just a library, it probably qualifies for a broader diversity of grants, etc.), talk to the librarians. Maybe the Library Board would be the vehicle for this. I propose that we start one informally and immediately. I'll be on it--who's with me?

meeting with library folks

I think the conversation about our library will kick off during the city council's general government committee meeting on July 25. The title of the agenda item is "Library 101," but I've read that they will discuss a new library and other broad topics. I'm planning on going.

Right on

Then I plan on going as well.  The sooner we enter a process the better chance we have of having the library and services we need and want.

"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^
"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^

I'm game

No question, sign me up.  I like the idea of the library being the real civic center from which all that is Olympia flows.  I like your thinking, the library is a foundation, to be sure.

"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^
"I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves."
^@^