Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Library Hunting

The hour of five this morning saw me up and helping J print off a load of work documents before he sets off South. ‘I am such a nice person’, I thought happily, as I waved him off. ‘I am going to stay awake and do lots of good things!’

Well, good things I have done – although my awakened state is more like a stupor than anything ‘zippy’. But I have managed to organise research (for a local magazine feature, rather than the novel – that puppy is still waiting), and this afternoon set off to the local library to prowl further into the subject.

I mentioned here that the local library is an odd place to hang out – the reference room was the place time forgot, but the building was nice and old and who cared if it needed modernising? It had history. Unfortunately this is now more like it had history, as it appears the local council cared (in a slap dash ‘bugger we’ll have to do something about this book problem’ sort of way) and have decided to relocate the whole thing. I harrumphed at the shut door to the old library, and peered crossly at the notice telling new patrons where the temporary library was being housed. ‘Oh over there’, I thought. ‘Righty-ho’.

Nothing against care homes, but it appears Tuesday is the day for my local borough to let all residents out for a stroll. And, as if in sympathy, my shoelace kept untying itself so I was either shuffling along at the same speed, or stopping to lean against walls (in a non-yob way) and re-tie them. No matter whether I did double or triple knots, I’d go a few yards and there they were, trailing along beside me.

Nor did it help that I’d somehow lost the new library. I walked (or shuffled) around in a large circle, wandering into the park to see if perhaps it was in there (it wasn’t), coming out again and peering around tiredly. I went back to the closed library door and this time noticed the map. 'Ah, now that would have been good to know', I muttered to myself as I set off again, catching the glances of sympathetic bystanders as they watch ‘yet another one’ shuffle her way down the street, cursing shoelaces.

I did eventually find the new library, and my word, it is a shiny new place reminiscent of Borders. The staff were amazingly helpful and it was so much nicer to search for books. I thanked the nice kind person who helped me find my books on old London, and said as much to her, feeling ever so slightly disloyal to the old building. She said a lot of people had mentioned that, and I got the feeling this new library may be here to stay - and I contributed to it! See - this is what happens when you start at five - nice old buildings get doomed.

Anyway, I am back home (obviously) and have already eaten dinner. Surely bedtime isn't that far away? Oh... 5.40pm. Rats.


musicobsessive said...

Yes, that is very evocative. In the late 60s I would go to the old St Albans Library (it's at the top end of Victoria Street near the Town Hall) and borrow 'Jennings' books or sit at the large tables and read the Meccano Magazine (we never bought one - how many youngsters would understand that?). It is now an Irish theme pub, although it still has 'Library' carved into the stone above the double doors. The new library is above the Maltings shopping centre and it's awful.

Progress eh?

Jayne Ferst said...

I have the feeling I've been to that pub when I was a Uni student in Hatfield - oh no, I've helped condem another nice old library! Oh dear...