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.