Library. Revisited.

April 23, 2009

 

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With this oh-so enjoyable LSAT business on my agenda, I find myself at the public library about three days a week, trying to train my inherently illogical brain in the fine art of logic. (If A—>B, and B—>C, then C—>B. No wait, that can’t be right.) 

It comes as no surprise that I associate libraries with a certain sense of nostalgia. I have fond memories of my undergraduate days buried inside of UC Berkeley’s main stacks, where my masochistic yet focused and productive all-nighters brought out to bring out the best of work ethic.  

And yet, as I have realized in the past few weeks, public libraries don’t really work in the same manner.

Whenever I enter a public library, I frequently end up asking myself the same basic questions: Does anyone else think the Dewey decimal system is rather inefficient?  Why is that man shaving in the bathroom? Do they just throwaway the old card catalogs or are they stored in the basement in case a virus wipes out all of the computers?  Oh, and I don’t really get the whole sexy-librarian fetish. Something about being shushed just seems like a condescending turnoff.

Particularly in the midst of America’s favorite recession, public libraries across the country have become a safe haven for the young and recently unemployed: kill a few hours, read a book, apply for a job or two, people watch, or, as I seem to be doing at the moment, try to figure out if the correct answer to standardized test question happens to be A, B, C, D, or E.

Keep in mind that in my specific case, we are dealing with Los Angeles, a city that, with the exception of a few scattered parks and beaches, lacks a coherent semblance of public space. And the last time I checked, no one was really hanging out at City Hall, so I guess by default, public libraries in Los Angeles have become a hot-spot of sorts. 

My local library has transformed itself into the (very) frugal-hipster’s alternative to the coffee shop. (Which makes sense to a certain extent when you take into account the fact that at libraries you are not forced to shell out $3.50 for that latte and endure unbearable sounds of the barista’s I-Pod.) In fact, this particular biblioteca seems to have a surplus of aspiring screenwriters, cool-than-thou-art graphic designers, unemployed academics, and painters, painting pictures with paint…. and a paintbrush. 

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