Friday, September 25, 2009

Dispatches From A Public Librarian At McSweeney's

McSweeney's is a literary publisher. Kinda. McSweeney's is a seeker of crafted literary voices. Sort of. McSweeney's is a word lovers warm fuzzy blanket with threads that can take you anywhere. Ok, McSweeney's is very hard to describe. It is a wonderful place for people who love language.

In this case you should check out Scott Douglass and Dispatches from A Public Library. Real librarian with a literary twist. In his dispatches sometimes Scott uses a Twitter format to report the doings in the library.

Here is an example from Dispatch #32
Patron wants to know why our computer won't let him log into e-mail. Ask what his e-mail address is. He can't remember.
Sometimes it is a narrative on the Patron on the Week:
Some patrons you can just tell are going to be crazy. Clemens, a homeless man in drag who came into the library this week, saved me from guessing and told me right when he walked in: "My name's Clemens. I'm crazy and want to use a computer." To seal the deal, he extended his hand to shake.
It is the stories, the challenges and how he sees his patrons as a source of never ending material defining the human experience. He doesn't necessarily make fun of these folks but the humor of the situations he faces is amazing.

For me there is Ms. Haskell. I can think of several older patrons I get a kick out of, but I knew Ms. Haskell was special the first day I met her; she asked for the dictionary ... on audiotape. Not an abridged version, or a "500 Power Words Everyone Should Know"—not even a collegiate dictionary would do. She had it all scribbled out on a stained napkin, which she proudly dangled in front of my eyes: "OED Dictionary on audiotape." When I said no, we did not have that, she said, "Well, compact disc will have to do then." That was my first encounter with her, and all the encounters that followed were also about audiotapes.
When you finish with Scott make a little time to visit the rest of McSweeney's.

1 comment:

Scott Douglas said...

Thanks so much for those kind words :-)