Thursday, September 17, 2009

Library Racket vs Tranquil Craft Show

The days of libraries being quiet places are over. Libraries are becoming destinations offering computer workstations and group study spaces. People meet in our library to work on group projects and discuss assignments. We have a coffee and snack station on the entrance floor. Patrons have pizza delivered. We daily experience the pleasant noise of busy students.

But this library is also a construction zone as we add more Learning Commons space for the students. They moved everyone away from the North and East sides of the main floor EXCEPT the Acquisitions Dept. Here we sit trying to conduct business between the drilling of the bathroom renovation behind us and the concrete saws and hammering of the new student space. We're walled off, sometimes frozen, and often unable to hear each other speak. And we worked for 2 days by emergency lights only.

In contrast, I showed at an arts festival this past weekend in Springfield. The Mattoon Street Festival is a wonderful little show of 80 artisans. Tents are set up on the brick sidewalks of an historical, tree lined street of old brownstones. The neighborhood association has been sponsoring this show for over 30 years and it's efficiently organized by an accommodating group of people. The artisans are top quality and the jewelry category, though the largest, is limited.

The weekend was warm and pleasant and the rain that threatened all day Saturday never appeared. Each hour a musician or musical group of a different genre strolled the street. People were pleasant and friendly, many dressed nicely as they came from religious services. The women who attended were ones who loved and wore unique pieces of jewelry. A lot of the people were already buying holiday gifts. It was the nicest little arts and crafts show I have ever attended. And the environment was much more pleasant than my office is this morning.

Irritatingly noisy library or enjoyable craft show? Trying to talk to people and concentrate on my work with what sounds like airplanes taking off and landing or peacefully making jewelry with light classical music playing in the background? Nine and a half months and counting.

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