Friday, September 12, 2008

"Liberry" 2.0 (Moving Days Q)

As the actual move into the new library began, I continued to consider whether I would chronicle it after my backlog of material from the old library ran out. I suspected that I wouldn't, but continued to take notes here and there just in case. The trouble was, there were no real dramatic beats in the move itself, so most of my notes amounted to "Wow, it sure is nice not having any patrons under foot" and "I can't believe I get paid to come to work in shorts and flip flops and listen to podcasts all day as I shuffle books from shelf to shelf and devise new and revolutionary ways to organize our periodicals section." I began to suspect there just wasn't much of a story there.

I persevered, though, waiting for the big event to occur. You know, something that could elicit headlines like "D.T.-Addled Innanet Crowd Storms Liberry -- Astoundingly, Shitty Doors Hold." Instead, the best I really managed was "Dumbass Vinyl Signage Idiots Spell Mrs. C's Title `ASSITANT DIRECTOR' on Office Door Sign."

I decided that if I was going to step under the beam of scrutiny by announcing that our "liberry" was moving at a time when various newspapers and television stations around the state were doing stories about that very move, most of which wound up on their websites, most of which featured me as the "liberry" spokesperson, because everyone else in the damn building runs screaming at the sight of a camera, there really ought to be a good story in it and there just wasn't--not from that angle, at least. Logic and experience told me that news of the move would likely get out at some point. In the meantime, I might as well have fun with it and see if I could maybe create another layer of enjoyment for long-time readers.

The plan, as I initially conceived and eventually enacted, was to let all of the backlog of stories set in the old "liberry" run out and tie up all the loose ends from what was essentially Volume 1. During that time I would be gathering new stories in the new building which I would publish after the old ones ran out. The only clue I planned to initially give that something different had occurred was to update the page's look and label the new material as Volume 2. And to show you what my backlog was really like, even with the three weeks we were closed for the move and the fact that the new place didn't open until late July of 2007, "Liberry 2.0" still didn't begin until August 15. Coincidentally enough, I noticed that the old stories were going to run out right around my 1000th post. Seemed a fitting place to end Volume 1.

During my gathering of new tales, I realized that the geographical differences between the tiny old building and the gigantic new building were going to come into play. The fact that we now had, essentially, five public restrooms and one private one for staff, as opposed to the crappy little restroom under the stairs and the oft-patron-traversed "private" restroom in Mrs. A's office of the old building. New readers might not notice the inconsistencies in description, but I figured long time readers would likely pick up on them. I'd already adopted a policy of being a bit vague when describing certain aspects of our previous location, after being busted by a former employee who recognized the layout, but there was no hiding some of the things that were going to come up in the new place. Sure, big ticket items, such as elevators, kitchens, fireplaces and massive new computer facilities, could be dropped in sometime down the line, but there were less instantly obvious details of the new building's layout that I decided to start layering in immediately, throwing new tidbits in every so often until I could begin dropping in larger ones , months down the line.

I figured that sooner or later a reader would call me on something (not via telephone, hopefully) and point out the inconsistencies. I would have then had to admit that, yes, there were some and pose the question of "Wonder why that is?" prompting people to do the math. Perhaps they'd think back to the handful of references to the new library project I'd made in the past and figure it out. Of course, it seemed just as likely to me that a new reader, daring to take the plunge and read all of the back matter of the blog, might stumble upon those references and do the math. (Of course, another likely possibility was that folks might do the math incorrectly and come to the conclusion that I've just been making all of this up in the first place, as some of my more creative colleagues have done in the past.) And while I can't say that neither readers old nor new noticed the inconsistencies, no one ever called me out on it.



Manda said...

Count me in as clueless. I've been reading your blog long before the move but never noticed anything different. I guess I just don't pay attention to minor details of how many bathrooms or whatnot. I did wonder about the 2.0 thing. I just thought it was a dig at the 'Library/Web 2.0.

Wow. I guess I need to brush up on my criticial reading skills. :)
I've enjoyed your stories so much!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a new reader... (the last 6 months) so I never notice anything either. Nor was I curious to find out where you were located. Until this post that is... then it became a fun "detective like" challenge to find your town/liberry. I succeeded in finding the website for your liberry but no pictures of you in news headlines. :) Not that I'm a creepy stalker. Just killing time on a boring Friday afternoon at work. Thanks for your entertaining blog... I guess I'll have to read the archives once you stop writing.

sarahjeanne said...

I thought I noticed a few differences, but figured my terrible memory was to blame!

I finally took the time to figure out which liberry you worked at (I do, after all, have an advanced degree in Google)...and it's not at all how I pictured it!

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.