Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Library geek

PK is with my in-laws at the lake house. C is at her Campfire USA camp for the day. I just dropped off S at work and needed to stick around the city, since I have to pick up C at 3:30 p.m., then S at 6 p.m.

No sense making the 100 mile roundtrip more than once today, so I'm hanging out in the Oklahoma City Downtown Library (aka the Ronald J. Norwick Downtown Library), just a few blocks from S's building.

Ask anyone who knows me well and they will attest to the fact that I'm a closet library geek. I blame my mother, who would proudly take all the credit.

According to their website,"The new Downtown Library is the newest library of Oklahoma counties sprawling Metropolitan Library System. With its innovative children's area, expanded book collection, and high speed Internet access, this state-of-the-art library is a great place for Oklahoma County families."4-stories of steel and glass with so much ambient light pouring in from the street that I resolutely doubt the need for the fluorescent overheads.

On a weekday morning, there are still plenty of free seating/studying areas by the enormous windows, all of which are equipped with an array of available power outlets strategically situated within my iBook's powerblock 6-foot cord limit.
I'm sad they tore down the original Carnegie Library built in the early 1900's that sat a few blocks away from the current library.

I'm happy they didn't tear down the 50's modernist library erected in it's place (even though the city now uses it for office space).

I'm sad to find several roach motels in hidden corners of the wonderfully spacious, comfortable reading room - complete with 270 degree panoramic view of the west.

I'm happy to find tasteful and decorative Frank Lloyd Wright inspired patterns on the industrial strength carpet.

I'm sad to find security cameras just about everywhere (so much for sneaking a quick romantic interlude in the non-fiction section).

I'm happy to find the quietest hand blow dryers I've ever experienced in the sparkling clean bathrooms.

I take a complete, unguided and undisturbed tour of the building and stop on the east side to watched construction workers erecting the steel super structure of a foot bridge that crosses over a street from a parking garage to the library.

My tour takes me to a spot by the panoramic windows on the 4th floor in the Reference section 560.3 - 613.28, where I plop down on the blonde wood and black holed chairs, and open my iBook.
"Would I like to join the mlspublic wireless network?"
I click.
I'm on.
My emails come rolling in. My browser feels fulfilled and dexterous, even being 55 miles from it's home network.

It's a "not-yet-July" sunny summer day out with adolescent puffy clouds dotting the sky and momentarily blocking out the sun, keeping the ambient temps at about 89 degrees.

From my semi-private cubicle, I have an almost 180 degree view of the Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center (where the amazing Chihuly exhibit is housed), the Oklahoma County government building and the historic Park Street 5-lane boulevard.

The downtown city Trolley rolls past, it's exterior design harking back to the early part of last century, yet underneath roars an ethanol burning powerplant.

A pair of cops in shorts and roller blade helmets roll by on their Segways. One gets stopped by a pedestrian in need of directions.
The cop pulls out what looks like a small PDA and is apparently accessing some sort of information kiosk application.
Now he's handing the lost walker a map, and showing them how to get to where they need to be going.

Segway City Cop is down with the tech, baby.

I wish I had my digital camera.
I'm watching a street worker riding a two-seated golf cart with what appears to be a large vacuum canister mounted on the rear section.
Protruding out of the top of the canister is a large, flexible, clear hose, about 11" in diameter 12' in length.
The hose runs over the drivers head, pivots on a metal arm, and terminates in front of the driver at street level.

By working the metal arm and swinging the hose around, the driver can pick up just about any stray piece of litter or trash that he can maneuver his little cart toward.

People wave at the street sanitation engineer as he drives by, apparently as surprised to see such a contraption as I am. He appears to be enjoying his work.

How cool is that.

It's time to meet S for lunch. Gyro's at a nearby greasy Greek stand today. Mmm, ethnic food for a change.

As I exit I stop to talk to a couple of the steel workers wailing on a girder as long as my house and as rusty as the frame on my old '64 Malilbu convertible that I bought over eBay from a guy in Chicago.

One of the workers is grinding a weld, the other was laying down a beautiful bead on a joint. I compliment him on his weld. He asks if I'm a welder.
"No," I tell him.
Then he asks if I worked at the library. I guess I looked the part today.
"No," I tell him, "I'm just a library geek."

1 comment:

Quantum said...

Don't call Oklahoma City a small town. Okay.

I live in a small town. I live in Enid. I would love to live in Oklahoma City.

Be happy you live in OKC, rather than Enid. You would hate it here. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go, and the only places that that are something: you have to be over 21 to go into.

And the library, it is small, but respectable. You wanna talk about a small library, talk about the libraries in the surrounding towns.