The Real-life Room of Requirement.
January 15, 2019 10:23 PM   Subscribe

A Three-Act Tribute to Libraries. (slThis American Life): "Five of us went to libraries around the country that day.... And one of the things that we found everywhere were even-tempered, unflappable librarians. Like at the Palo Verde Public Library in Phoenix, a library user named Cindy, in a maroon sweatshirt and fanny pack, broke into song to get the librarian to understand exactly which Amy Grant Christmas album she wanted."

The podcast episode continues with the first act being about a library that sits on the Canada-American border. It has turned into a special place for immigrants precisely because of its location in two countries. The second act is about Richard Brautigan's bizarre library brought to life. The third act is about a woman's visit to her childhood library. An irresistible story about librarians steering children through life.

"The library sits on the border between Canada and the US. I mean, literally on the border. Like there's a faded black line running along the floor to show you which country you're in. The books are mostly in Canada. The front door is in America. So entering from the US is easy.

But if you're coming from the Canadian side, to get to the door, you have to venture for about 20 yards into American territory on an American sidewalk. How can you tell you've crossed over? Flower pots. A row of flower pots. "


Lydia Sigwarth:
And I'm sitting in this meeting, like almost crying, like I teared up. I was like, how did I never realize this before? And how did we never talk about this? And then I was like, it's because it wasn't traumatic. We were fine. We were happy. We were fed, and clothed, and taken care of. So there was nothing wrong. Because I remembered that time so fondly, that I was like, oh, that was the year we lived in the library. It was the best time ever.
posted by storybored (6 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I also would break into song to get someone to understand exactly which Amy Grant album I wanted. I have a soft spot for Amy Grant.

I apologize in advance to anyone within earshot if I do start singing, because it is an approximation of song at best.
posted by hippybear at 10:31 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Librarians are the underfeted heroes of democracy, culture, wisdom, creativity. If they all wore capes in public to identify themselves, I could buy them donuts or wave flags or something. Anything, to cheer them on in their great and vital work.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 10:38 PM on January 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

The manuscripts in the Brautigan library seem a lot less dreadful than I expected.

I gave my manuscript (which I still think of as a first draft, sort of gone gelid)

I know that gelidity.
posted by Segundus at 12:06 AM on January 16, 2019

So, anything in this episode about librarians that code?
posted by malaprohibita at 12:49 PM on January 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Or temperamental and flappable librarians for that matter. I know I'm one and certainly not alone.
posted by ipsative at 5:58 PM on January 16, 2019

Thanks so much OP! I am still listening to this but am loving it.
posted by narancia at 3:17 PM on January 17, 2019

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