An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

And no drinkin', either!

I'm posting from the public library in the small Missouri bootheal town my grandmother lives in.

The last time I visited this library was two years ago. I was on a quest to find Diana Gabaldon books for my grandmother. Grandma, you see, is a life-long romance novel devourer. She’s not a huge fan of trashy ones, but has been known to leaf through a few. Mostly, she likes a good story with good characters and Gabaldon has that in spades. So I popped by this branch to get some for her. Only, they didn’t have any. When I asked about them, the “librarian” told me that she might think about acquiring them but that their library did not buy or accept books that contained cursing or . I wanted to point out that they had nearly an entire room devoted to romance novels, which as a standard feature usually contain some degree of .

[NOTE: The bolded text above was censored by that library's blocking software. It removed the word "sex" from the end of the next to last sentence and from the end of the last sentence --juice 11/30/04]

I asked my grandmother what was up with that attitude and she informed me that the ladies who ran this particular library were librarians in name only, having no MLS degrees and having inherited their positions there after the previous degreed librarian died. Now, as a guy who works in a library who does not have an MLS degree of my own, I’m not knocking librarians without such degrees. (Hell, I’d say only about a third of the librarians in my state have degrees.) However, the rigors of MLS education do tend to instill some pretty strong ideas on the evils of censorship that I think these ladies might benefit from.

Another funny thing about this place is that I can't actually access my blog from their public access computers. It's blocked. I can access the dashboard and even edit and post entries, but I can't read them afterward. This place gives patrons a full hour on the computers, but has rules against or computer . It also has ebay and just about any site with " " in the title blocked, except for Amazon , which I can access. Funny funny stuff.

[NOTE: The bolded text above was censored by that library's blocking software. It removed the words "chatting" and "games" from the first sentence and removed the words "auction" and "auctions" from the second. Again, funny funny stuff --juice 11/29/04]

Thanksgiving went very well. We had it on Friday because not everyone could be here on Thursday. That's pretty usual for my family, though. I'm happy to report there were no major religious arguments, no major fights, but plenty of great food and fellowship with my people. And my cousin Cameron and his wife Jennifer brought their 7- month-old son Connor, who is the cutest sweetest baby I've ever seen. It even surpasses Mrs. Asner's kid, who until now was the Cutest Baby in All The World. He's just bright and smiley and good-natured and perfect. Hasn't cried a whit yet, though he did have a great deal of difficulty going to sleep with all the activity going on. I kept telling the wife, "We need to have one just like this! Can't we just ask the doctor for a good baby like him?" And my parents, upon spying me holding the tyke, came up and told me that a baby looked good on me. Subtle, they are.

The bad news is that I seem to have developed an annual trend for grandmothers whose health suddenly goes south around Thanksgiving. My grandma here broke some ribs a few months back and has been living with my aunt and uncle across the street. We're not sure if she's had some mini-strokes or if something else is going on, but her memory is going wonky on her and she's slowly losing the ability to talk. She's had some issues with that for the past few years, actually, but having a conversation with her now is kind of difficult as she seems to be forgetting common words that she wants to use. It's very frustrating for her. She also can't get around well without a walker. We're not entirely certain, but most of us think that the chances she can go back and live on her own in her house across the street are sort of slim. Maybe we're wrong, though. I hope so.

So we said goodbye to a couple of aunts and uncles and my parents and sister this morning. We'll be here until tomorrow when we begin our long trek back home.

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