Monday, May 2, 2011
I went back to the Newberry Library and, this time, I came prepared. After giving the librarian my ID and a fake research topic, I was given a reader card and access to the rest of the library.
Overall, I thought it was pretty cool. I like a good library, and the Newberry is a great library. Unfortunately, for me, the best part of the library is also the worst part of the library. Namely, you can't wander through the stacks.
When I go to a library, half of the fun is spending a few hours wandering through the stacks of books just to see what they have. The University of Illinois Library, for instance, has something like ten stories of books that you can wander through and you can find some really cool, old stuff in there.
That being said, I love that they don't let patrons into the stacks at the Newberry. Instead, you have to look your book up on the computer and then ask a librarian to get it for you. Can you imagine how well-organized the stacks must be?!?
The biggest downside of letting people into library stacks is that an average person can't be trusted with basic organizational systems. As much as I enjoyed the U of I Library, the entire thing was an organizational cluster-fuck because people would put books back haphazardly. Honestly, the Dewey Decimal System is not that hard.
Ok, I used to work at the U of I Library and I'm sort of compulsively organized, so I should probably stop before I get into a full-blown rant about how to organize things.