|Closed Stacks and Carousels
||[May. 23rd, 2008|01:15 pm]
The little boy and I ran some errands today. First was a stop at the doctor's, for the third Friday in a row. (First just a shot, then an ear infection, now a reaction to the medication for the ear infection, and next Friday another ear check. These co-pays are adding up!) Second was a stop at the drugstore to get him some medicine for the reaction. Third was the gas station. I still had almost a quarter tank, but as I drove down Western Ave I saw gas priced at $4.05 and $4.07. When I came to Sunoco, with gas at the bargain price of $3.99, I pulled in just on principle. (And for those of you in CA, with probably even higher prices, let me remind you...your freeways are free!)|
But it's the final part of our trip that was a lot more fun than I expected. I needed a book for an article that's already been rejected twice, and, of course, my campus library didn't have it. I could get it through interlibrary loan if I was willing to wait a few days, but I wasn't. Plus, my ILL privileges appear to be suspended, for reasons unknown to me. I probably returned a book late, and they forgot to remove the restriction. (One of the very few benefits to being a faculty member is that I never pay library fees. That, and the mail room will give me my packages at any time. Students have two windows of time a day. Not me!)
The NY State library, however, has this book. The library is downtown in Empire Plaza. I got close, metered street parking, put the dude in the stroller, and off we went.
The library is in the Cultural Education Center, which also includes the state museum and state archives. The library, the info desk attendant informed me, is on the 7th floor. And as we rode the elevator, I wondered how they could fit all those books (it's a significant research library) on one floor.
Well, they don't. The state library uses closed stacks, which barely seem to exist anymore. Libraries opened their stacks in a move toward democracy, because it allowed greater freedom and access. So I gave the call number to the employee at 11:10. He informed me that the next trip to the stacks would be at 11:30, and the books would be available by noon.
Great. Do you have a children's area, I asked? No. But there's a carousel on the fourth floor. So, after I signed up for a library card, we took the elevator back down to find a beautifully restored carousel, with horses carved in the late 19th century. They have German marble eyes and real horsehair tails. The entire carousel was built and restored in the state of NY. It was in a large room with windows all around, showing off the incredible greenery, with a nice view of the capitol building. (Of course, that building's been in the news a lot lately....) They offer free rides every ten minutes...and the dude absolutely loved it. It's time like this when, in spite of occasional sub-zero winter temperatures, being a full day and multiple plane rides away from family, and having a senator that is being (not completely unfairly) accused of destroying the Democratic Party, that I really love living in New York.