The library is in your mind

I think libraries have lost some of their magic.  Or maybe it's just that I'm older and find magic harder to come by, but there was a mystique I used to feel when I went into a well-established (ie, old) library, even when it was just the dimly lit bookmobile that used to stop at the corner near our house when I was a child.  Now libraries are all about technology.  No more card catalogues, no more scouring the reference section for some arcana when you can go check out computer time and look it up online.  Not that that's a bad thing.  It saves a lot of time.  And maybe what I feel when I think about my library experiences of yore is just useless nostalgia.  Because isn't the real magic to be found when you're lost in a book?

Nevertheless, the New York Public Library has been an epitome of Librariness for me since I was a youngster, so I had to stop by there while we were in the City. 

The lions on the steps leading to the library have been there since 1911, and have had 
several names over the years.  Currently, they are known as Patience and Fortitude, 
names given them by Mayor LaGuardia during the Depression.  But I call them 
Fred and George, after my favorite literary twins.

Lots of people were in the library the day we visited.  I wonder how many were 
tourists, like me, or how many had just come inside to escape the 100º weather.

Part of the reference section.  No one's there because 
everyone is looking up stuff on the Internet.

Shannon looks up a word in the dictionary so she can say she actually 
used the library.  (I did, too, but there's no picture.  My word was "alabaster".)


Shannon said...

You know, that's the one thing I was a little disappointed by with the new library in Fallbrook. It kind of feels like there are fewer books. Like the shelves are shorter and (it seems) fewer. I remember walking through those tall shelves as a kid and wondering how anyone could every read all of those books (of course, the fact that I was really short might've contributed to it too).
The Springville library is like that too. The first time I went in there to look for something, it was kind of like, "Wait...is there more? No?"
Also, I don't know what word I was looking up. But I was thinking of the ghost in that Improv video. Because it's silly. And it had alabaster skin. Or something.

Janeite42 said...

I know what you mean. With budget issues, I think more library systems are keeping fewer copies of books and request lines get longer and longer. Libraries look sort of like bookstores nowadays.

What ghost?

Shannon said...

I could've sworn you were the one who originally showed this to me: