I have a unique fondness to printed materials, specifically to printed paper. I was raised in a school, where everything was kind of hand written. Typewriter was like the jaw-dropper back then, and the person who knows to type faster; a noble. I even had my dad brag about it all along multiple times. I had read product catalogs, revenue reports from my dad’s workplace just for fun that he brings home. As it was not handwritten, but printed on smooth glossy sheets of paper.This was back in my 5th grade during early 90’s.
So, going back in time – I was waiting to be grown up for two reasons. First, the choice that one gets to write with a pen. One had to be at-least in his 7th grade to be eligible for it, atleast in my school during 90’s. Secondly, I get to write more exams. Printed question papers, writing the exam using a ballpoint pen was all I was looking forward to for growing up. I cherish the moment even today when I think about the announcement that was made once during my class. I still get those incitement thinking about certain past moments in my life. My teacher wanted everyone to take notes of her class only using a fountain pen and not to use ballpoint pen anymore. Yes, a chance to get one new fountain pen! Awesome..
Yeah, that was how I grew up. It is all old story now. anyways! Moving to what I was thinking about writing today. I visited one of the public libraries near my home last week to prepare for a management exam. I had one of the weirdest experience ever.
OK, before being judgmental about how a library needs to function, blah.blah. Let me get back in my life to gist, how the library as in whole got framed in my mind right from my childhood days.
As a student back in School( up-to 6th grade more or less) – I did not know what a library mean, because we never had one in school. I still remember everyone going crazy, when we received our first computer for school lab. I guess it was running windows 3.0. Lab construction was completed a week prior to that. A lab with just one computer. We get 45 minutes in a week to spend on with it, to work on BASIC programming. We took turns like 10 minutes each for a student, It takes three week almost to get one’s turn of 10 minutes.Fun times!
7th grade, I just don’t want to look up my calendar look for the year and all. Let’s leave it at that. I will bring up the new life at my new school, some other instant of time. Let us focus right now only on the library part of it. So, there was this day – when we received our timetable for the week. Time slots as to what subject to be taught every 50 minutes for the whole week, applicable to that current year. We usually have 7 periods in a day, with fifty minutes to spare for lunch. I saw two periods marked as library time in my weeks schedule. Looking forward for that day, became the next exciting thing for every week then on. Librarian comes to class, take us in a line to the library located all the way across the building on the top floor. Three big rooms filled with books. I still feel that excitement in me, when I was told to go pick a place and take a book of your choice. I do not know back then, was that called the freedom of choice?.May be… I was a kid. There were these statements/words that was written all on the walls, ‘SILENCE please’ , ‘QUIET’, ‘Don’t make noise’.. etc..etc., may be it was meant for all the age group to understand.
Growing up was fun then on, had a new way of life. I had the freedom to go wherever I wanted to. I usually take my motorcycle and drive all the way to the nearest happening city, pick a library and just go sit inside for two reasons. Primarily, to get out of that damn heat – temperature go all the way to 105 F back in my place, and secondly love the aura that library puts out. It did help me at peace all the time, I mediate, relax shut down my head, and rejuvenate. I am from a developing country, so back then we do not have computers or any electronic devices allowed inside around the temple of books.
Back in college, it was the same as usual, except that I just liked the corner place in the library for multiple other reasons. This was how I was related to library back in my place.
In the US, I have worked as a student assistant almost all of my three semesters.Working in libraries; getting paid for it was a good deal. Positive energy was so intense working in there. A place of your liking and someone paying you to do that was super awesome. But I did see ‘QUIET’ everywhere, ‘SILENCE phones’ written down to train everyone’s muscle memory habituated to library environment. This was four years ago.
But, last week – I visited one of the library near by my place. I will tell you the truth, I have not been to one in a long long time. I did not see any quiet or silence your phones thing anywhere. May be, I thought people have grown up, accustomed to the library way of things. I had taken a grande cup of starbucks mocha on my way. I went in picked up a corner; turned on the laptop, connected my headset and started getting myself ready to sink in the long multiple boring sessions that more or less am going to get dissolved into. As I began, I saw some one pointing fingers to an another one who was near me. He saw me and recollected his thoughts for a second, approached and informed me not to drink coffee in here. Really, I was surprised at first.I then realized may be its all changed now – even carrying a beverage around the library is not allowed these days. Cool. I said, OK – I will not, thanks for letting me know. I successfully, completed a session and stared at the clock in front of me – it was 50 minute past from where I started. Until, then I just had two people in front of me, a Dad working on something; books all around the table, taking notes and an another little girl, working on her homework – she had all this bunch of color pencils/sketch pens wrapped around her. She, then went and took a laptop out from the front desk which is provided for free, for the patrons inside the library. I thought about my days, back then. May be it is a thing that comes to everyone as you age. Anyways, I went back to my sessions, which were getting intense; adding boredom with every single slide. 20 minutes had passed and this time I am just over four slides. I looked around again, it was crowded as if, it was the first day of a closeout announced sale.
It is now a rackety library.
In front of me, I now have three people. A mom and her daughter working on some kind of healthcare bill to be presented in the house of representatives, an old guy who clearly mentioned in his high base voice – “my clock has already began MAM as we got introduced in here” advising daughter on the strategy to be used in writing this bill up. From the deprived, sagging eyes of daughter; I could definitely say it has to be boring as hell or she ended up partying little more than she should have last night, whatever. I went back trying to focus back in my world of boredom, back to the time management aspect of the project, how to section. This time with the add on challenge of people’s whispers and talks around. All of a sudden, I heard this sharp noise that came from my back, I turned to see as curious as like the others did. An early 20 something guy was sitting there on a corner wearing his vibrant colored headphone, stressed looking at his laptop. He said “You kidnapped her right?, then you should not be going that way, you need to go the other way and take the car“. I had to stretch all the way back to see what’s going on. I closed my laptop and stepped out as soon as I heard ” I am dead, dude. You probably have to kill yourself to start over again“.