It’s a Saturday morning and I’m in the library. The library of now, it’s like a reverse library from when I was a kid. Instead of dusty old books are nice new ones, loads of them, and in the place of people there’s empty spaces.
The librarians of now chit-chatter from behind the desk about speed reading. It’s not for them, all agree; they have a point. I don’t like speed reading either, it defeats the object of reading really. I just wish they’d keep the noise down.
SHHHHH! I want to say but won’t, because the sky will come crashing down or so I reckon. Libraries haven’t changed that bloody much. Librarians, they still have the power, no matter how old you are.
A homeless dude is sitting by the magazine rack in the corner, out of the way. He rests his chin on his chest and he’s got copies of the NME and The Lady opened at random pages on the table in front of him. The best effort I’ve ever seen in my life of pretending to read whilst snatching some solid zzzz’s, he’s covering all bases, every audience. There’s no way the librarians will budge him now, if you’re reading The Lady you’re posh, an eccentric millionaire maybe. He’s got them on lock down. Good for him. I like to think every now and then he opens his eyes and checks out an indie band or two, and idles over a recipe for fancy cake.
The night before, I’m talking to a mate in the pub. I say I’m going to the library in the morning, she asks ‘Why?’, and pulls her face.
We go through the whole rigmarole, the same conversation I’ve had with so many people. Yep, I know I can download books for nothing, but I don’t want to.
The library’s minging (it isn’t, it smells of Lemon Pledge and books), I haven’t got time (she has), it’s too far (the house of books is NOT that far), the library is for povs (hmmm), I used to go when the kids were little but..., and I’m so busy…
Her list of reasons not to go is endless. It never stops. Seems to me, on paper I have fewer reasons to go than she has not to, and that makes me feel sad.
I don’t know how to sex up the library for her. I think that’s what she wants. But if it was sexy, homeless dude might not be welcome, and that’s not good; bloody hell, the odds are I wouldn’t fit in either. Still, if the library was sexed up my mate might go, once in a while. How do you sex up a library? Add some celebrity zing, maybe? Because that’s what we’re all after, yes?
Off the top of my head, I’m thinking:
I’m A Celebrity Get Me In The Library.
The Great British Book Off.
The Library Factor.
Where do I pitch these ideas, please?