The Road to Damascus

My colleague and buddy-pal Brooke posted an interesting and thought-provoking blog entry HERE which I thought of commenting there, but once Mojo gets started she ends up digressing and co-opting and muddying things and poking people behind their backs and looking all innocent when they turn around. And Hope is something--whether your version is the Thing With Feathers or just the Light At the End of the Tunnel or whathaveyou--that needs to be respected, not digressed into discussing shoes or furniture or the authorship of Amusing Quips Mojo Makes Up Off the Top of Her Oh So Creative Widdle Head.

Aside from my part-time duties at my small library, my Real Money job for the past several years finally wound down, and as typically in this situation I am lazily pondering what I shall do next. And I find myself thinking about and then rejecting the very idea of certain jobs simply because I realize they will clash with my low-paying part time library gig. For some self-destructive reason, the library work has taken a higher priority to, say, eating or paying my bills. I'm sure it will all work out in the end, but right now I have the uneasy feeling of me, the Staid New Englander, slowly assuming the form of an (*gasp!*) Evangelist.

I'm not sure how or why this happened. I am a calm, rational person by nature. I have a long, proud history of working in an academic library for several years, and while I have always liked libraries, I've always been content to take them for granted, as Brooke so wisely and cruelly points out. Which is a death knell, really. Taking something for granted is a certain death through benign neglect, and when it happens you can mourn the death and feel a little guilty, but you never have to assume the direct responsibility of attacking and killing the dead thing outright. So you're safe from judgment, which is cool because Avoiding Responsibility is a primary objective in today's society.

It really wasn't until I left academia and started the slow sucking ooze of getting involved in my town's tiny library (as well as the community of small libraries that surround us) that reality sort of slapped me in the face. Brooke's right: there's hope. Good things happen in libraries to a greater degree than bad things. Somehow giving things away for free to people and politely asking them to return it when they're done works to an amazing degree. So much so that the occasional bad apple makes the national news. Most people don't do that; somehow, despite capitalism's shrieking demands, the system still works.

So much so that I find myself ready to live under a bridge, if it means keeping my library job. And while the rational part of me is still going "why?" there's just no question about it when I ignore the shrieking brain and follow what my heart is telling me.

So look out, world. Another born-again evangelist is rearing her one-track head, and over the course of the next few months and/or years you're gonna get the proselytizing of a lifetime. Even if it comes from under a bridge; should that happen I shall proudly assume the mantle of Library Troll and merely redouble the shrieking and gibbering. Because libraries ain't one-track at all. Libraries give their communities the world in microcosm. All for free. And--despite the continuing cliché--usually without the bunned hair and constant shushing. (At least not in MY library!)

Small libraries. Total coolness. So there.