I often spend Saturday mornings at the Boston Public Library. I read books from the reference library’s collection. On sunny days when the air’s not too cold you can sit outside in the courtyard in nice winsor chairs. Today outside the the city was preparing for the Boston Marathon. The building was progressively becoming encased in stands, TV equipment, huge wedding tents, police barriers, and portable toilets. Inside things were just like always.
The library attracts a wonderfully random sample of the Boston population. Disheveled academics, elderly, and homeless who often hard to distinquish from each other. Families of numerious language groups scouring the shelves of foriegn language titles. Kids of all ages doing their homework or their research. Intense young men surounded with large piles of books on all kinds of topics: military history, islam, biblical studies, crockpot recipes… Occationally small groups are gathered in animated conversation. Today two volunteers in the young adult room were discussing budget cuts.
This month they have a wonderful art exhibit consisting of – oh – a thousand very old typewriters imprisoned in heavy wire cages. You can reach thru the wire to manipulate the typewriters. A few typewriters sit on a table in a corner and people type short notes on them.
The library has a few guards that wander about. This leads to one of those high school grade ethical problems since they often pause to study the current art exhibit; or to page thru a book lying on a now abandoned table. Today a huge guard, seven feet tall minimum, paused before the shelves labeled “Oversided Books.”