Thursday, November 01, 2012

Libraries Are Wasted On The Students.

Inside the State Library yesterday.
I've spent lots of time in Melbourne's libraries lately. Here's what I've noticed.

Libraries are wasted on the students.

Libraries used to be quiet places.

Apparently now it's OK to talk loudly in a library.

Librarians are the library's loudest talkers.

Every library has a bloke who either: a) sleeps in the same chair at the same time, every day, b) borrows and returns and borrows again, the same book every day, c) does a little shit in the same corner near the reference section every second Thursday.

Libraries are bigger, warmer and quieter than a Department of Human Services funded boarding house.

Every library has a chess board. The State Library has a chess room bustling with old Eastern Block Europeans fighting about who's going to lose the game first.
Records of Australia's earliest online chess tournaments.
Indeed, the State Library's chess room has one of the biggest collections of chess books, magazines and tournament reports in the world. This makes it one of Melbourne's most boringly fascinating places.

I've only seen the East Melbourne library's chess board used by one man. He plays himself, though the rivalry and his in-game banter is as fierce and foul as you'd hear during a mid 1980s Collingwood Carlton game.

Melbourne's homeless have been playing 'winner stays on' on the playstation set up to play Fifa 9 in the library on Flinders Lane for the past three years. I have seen ciggies change hands on an exciting 3-2 result.

The Flinders Lane library also has a beautifully tuned piano on the second floor. You are only allowed to play the piano if you have a 'grade 5' or higher musical qualification. Though there should be a rule for taste. Vanessa Carlton tunes and free jazz make for difficult reading music.

Unless you're lucky enough to hear this homeless lady play...

Just beautiful.

The State Library Dome Room aint the awe-inspiring place of silence and wood it used to be.

But if you look closely...
Just a little plaque on one of the little Dome Room desks.
Computer games should be blocked on library computers. But they're not.

The local history section is wasted on the ancient library patrons. Have a quick look. You'll learn something brilliant.
I couldn't put it down.
Like did you know Nunawading was a local aboriginal word for 'coming'?

The fast computer check out system at the East Melbourne Library is one of the most thrilling pieces of technology I've seen. It knows what you have under your arm by electronic magic, letting you leave the place in less than 10 seconds!
The view from the desk as I type this blog.
The East Melbourne library is quite a pleasant building.

It's OK to come back. A few years ago there was a change in Melbourne councils, and the libraries they fund. This means your old $86.25 library fine from years ago may have been written off the library's system. Why you needed 19 months to read The DaVinci Code is anyone's guess.

Libraries are depressing if you need to go more than once a week.

This little guy wants his owner to stop reading comics already.


A said...

Few places besides libraries have microfiche available to the public. It's excitingly nostalgic but alas does not utilise keywords. It can take days to find what you want, wi Nunawading up for air.

Anonymous said...

I agree about the students, but you'll have a hard time removing them.

Easy thing to do would be to ban Facebook and online games from library PCs.

Glenn said...

Nothing like a good old fashion microfiching expedition. (oh, and I see what you did there with Nundawading. Solid).

And if only they did ban facebook from the libraries' wireless networks. Then I'd get some work done.