Monday, December 3, 2007

No Smoking in Stacks

Hey look, Olde Library administration went through the trouble of discouraging deviant behavior! They used to crack down in the Olde Library way back when. You know it. Now that I think about it, it would probably not be such a big deal to smoke in the stacks of today's Olde Library, given that there is no smoke detector/sprinkler system and the place smells like stale nasty chemical corrosion anyway. But still, even now, that sign is not messing around.

Here's a fun Olde Library activity: browse through back issues of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. If you've never experienced some of the before-and-after plastic surgery patient photos, you are in for a real viscerally fascinating yet shockingly disturbing treat. Since these journals are from the '60s and '70s, the plastic surgery patients actually needed plastic surgery...badly (sometimes awful badly). I'd like to think that these people were such disasters, money was not an object, as they were still fine-tuning the art of plastics, boobs and noses were not yet in the mix, and insurance companies had not yet privatized the entire U.S. healthcare system. Sometimes when my mind is overrun with naive, empty speculation about reform, being in the Olde Library helps me respect the human body and the way people all around the world have studied it. I respect it so much, I will never smoke in the stacks.

The "Submarine Room"

We call this the "Submarine Room." Why? Well, just look at it! It's a half-floor lower than the rest of the floor (wheelchair accessible, no less), and the handles on the moveable shelves look like some sort of elaborate submarine navigation system. The railing on the ramp gives off an "all aboard!" feel; every time I head down to this room to shelve some journals, I can't help imagining I'm about to go on a deep sea journey. It even feels like you're underwater.

Since I still can't sleep, I'm gonna throw out another fun fact about visiting the Olde Library during a rain/wind storm: the noises. Every time the wind hits the building, you hear them. "WoooooooOOOOOOOoooooooo." Is it a ghost? No, it's just the wind. The Olde Library makes it sound like a ghost. The ghost gets really loud and spooky if you hang out in the "Submarine Room."

Visible Wiring

Back in the day, they didn't bother concealing wiring on ceilings. This way, you got to appreciate the journeys of electricity currents, all of which are working extra voltage overtime to light the way to knowledge.

Today there was a nasty dump of a rain/wind storm. It hasn't really stopped raining and winding since this morning, and now it's 1:22 am and the drops are keeping me awake. Whenever it rains, we are trained to avert special concern to the Olde Library. Because of its "bare bones" style and relative oldness, it is especially susceptible to flooding. Today I did a thorough inspection, but luckily, I did not have to break out the sandbags just yet. Hopefully it'll be okay tomorrow, but honestly, I'm worried - this is an unrelenting mother of a storm. But I figure, if the Olde Library has withstood decades upon centuries of inclement Portland weather, it can handle this. In fact, this is probably a harmless shower compared to the Great Flood of 1996.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

At last

Although it's simply impossible to capture the "live" Olde Library on film, this shot is a pretty damn good attempt. Charmingly dingy, eerily supernatural, stockpiled with medical artifacts. This is what it's all about.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pictures Coming Soon!!

That's right...never-before-seen insider snapshots of The Olde Library!! I'll bet you're as excited as I am (but I'm not sure that's possible because I'm pretty excited!)

You can't properly experience The Olde Library without entering it yourself, but since it's off-limits to 99.9 (to the nth power) percent of the population, I'm going to be posting some pictures I took the last time I was there.

Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

First Post!!

I don't expect anyone to ever visit this blog because it's for an assignment, but if you just happened to link up here, it must be your lucky day.

This blog is dedicated to the Olde Library at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland. The Olde Library is such a prized antique, it is not open to the public, but because I work at the Main (aka "New") Library, I get to go on special field trips to the Olde Library to retrieve old books and journals for doctors and researchers who want to learn from the past.

Some of my co-workers hate going to the Olde Library. They use falsely impressionistic adjectives like "creepy" to describe what I like to call "intimidating mystique." I don't really care what they think, but if "creeped" is all they feel when they visit the Olde Library, they are just missing out.