During my high school years, I was the assistant librarian at my high school. Oh, did I mention I attended an all boys military high school? Needless to say, I was the most popular kid in school…to poke fun at! I didn’t mind really. I was the independent type. That’s one of the qualities you need to have as a librarian. You need some self assured capacity for independent thought. I have never heard or read of peer pressure causing a school aged child to be forced to be a library patron against his will. No hazing or teasing for checking out only the minimum number of books over the weekend has come to the attention of my determined will to find such an incident.
It’s the independent thinkers that can create problems for a society. That’s what librarians are…independent thinkers; at least that’s what I think. In the 10th grade, our high school library made what I thought at the time, was a silly decision as result of misguided judgment. We added “study carousels” to our library. I can imagine Mr. Dewey Decimal turning over in his grave as this was surely not part of his system. At first I didn’t understand what was happening. You came in the library, you looked quickly, got what you wanted and left with purposeful strides as an interloper might do if he accidently left his baseball glove in the room where a group of ladies where having a tupperware party. Before the carousel movement, I never thought the library as a place where people would dawdle.
This library was actually two different sized rooms connected by a door. The main room where the librarian sat and the vast majority of the books were shelved and the room next to it. This smaller room housed many dozens of books on chest high, wooden shelves. Dusting shelves, replacing check in books, and emptying trash made the day seem like any other. Then vague order to rearrange came.
First, I removed the books from the shelves and stacked them on the floor of the main room. Men from maintenance removed the bookcases and I vacuumed. Brand new shelves were added to the main room to house the relocated books. Then eight carousels, enough for 16 students to study, were assembled in the smaller room. I looked at them. Expensive looking faux mahogany I surmised. With a student on each side separated by only a half inch thick board and about 24 inches of vertical height separating two boys, I immediately imagined pencil missiles soaring back and forth at varying altitudes while a game of footsies ensued in the dark confines beneath the “desk” shelf. I sat down. Surprisingly, I could not reach the other side with my foot. Even when resting my neck on the back of the chair and fully extending my leg I could only reach slightly past the midpoint. I should known then some plan for world domination was afoot.
At first, boys wandered casually in and out of the room checking surreptitiously, I assumed, to see if any girls were hiding in the newly re-purposed space. Then slowly, over a few weeks, it happened. Boys began using the space to study! The space was clean, it was private and more important…it was quiet. As you might imagine quiet privacy is luxury in dorms housing 200 boys with two in each room. The boys knew the narrow room would always be quiet. The librarian, a woman in her early sixties, plump in stature, with cotton ball white hair, demanded quiet. I don’t know if grades went up, but I do know 16 carousel spaces were sometimes not enough. Ah, she who controls the quiet, draws tight the noose…
Next, in this quiet march of space and mind control libraries began creating “social spaces” in the library where people could talk or mingle. Girls could meet boys and boys could casually and nonchalantly interact with the girls. At the university, I experienced these places. Neat, well lit spaces with couches, and large tables were oriented within convenient proximity to a snack bar. It was certainly a nice place to visit, but I still wouldn’t want to live there. The thinkers still had more work to do if they wanted to snare me.
Now I live in Columbus Georgia and I have become well aware of the strategy of the independent minded planners. They are not only thinking individuals, but also, diligent, creative and helpful. I first became acquainted with Columbus Georgia’s library system as I began to conceive the notion of GreaterColumbusGa.com. I wanted to ponder its makeup away from home in a quiet place, with comfortable seating, surrounded by knowledgeable, friendly people and plenty of information…where was I to find this rare combination? The Columbus Public Library of course! I soon learned that one library was not enough to weave the tapestry of useful, convenient services. They had to create a system! For those us who study these things, we know it’s called the Chattahoochee Valley Regional Library System
Within this system, you can not only rent books, movies and CD’s, you can bring your laptop or borrow from the library and use free wi-fi! Children and teens have separate sections just for their needs throughout the system. That’s just the beginning. In this system of eight location the library’s volunteers teach quality computer classes…word, excel, building websites, basic computer skills and more. They allow kids to play wii games on occasion…that’s right IN the library. They show movies, teach parenting skills, bring in a variety of speakers like the author of Forest Gump. Don’t believe it? I didn’t either until now. Go to Library events in the table of contents of GreaterColumbusGa.com…oh forget it. That’s too hard…Go here…Columbus Georgia Library Events. Everything is organized so you can evaluate the information, consider their strategy and get involved! Show these hard-working, friendly, knowledgeable people you can come and go when you choose. They can’t make you stay…not yet, anyway. One more thing…at the Columbus Public Library…the last hour…they reduce the price of donuts to .35 each. Oh yeah, world domination in part of their plan alright…
GreaterColumbusga.com -All you need to know