When I was a beginning schoolchild, somewhere around the beginning of LBJ’s presidency, I had to pass a SCARY building on the way to school. It was of stone, unlike most of the buildings in town, and had dark windows, and was covered in ivy. I am not sure why I found it frightening, but I was convinced that furtive fiends lurked inside, waiting to torture beginning schoolchildren who wandered too close. I am also not sure where I picked up this concept; people keep telling me that was a more innocent time.
It may have been simple soothsaying. Maybe I knew that one day I would be working in a stone building with dark windows and ivy on the walls. But what happens to me inside is called “working for a living”, so, of course, the analogy falls flat. I would hope no one develops this fear of sinister doings at the Newberry.
Except, maybe, for this weekend.
It’s true, oh bacon-wrapped bundt cake! I am going to remind you that the Newberry is CLOSED for three whole days, and I’d rather you didn’t drive over with loads of books. Or walk over, for that matter. If you skip over with books, I hope your grandmother bites you when you get home: you’re trying too hard to get into a blog.
Anyway, I have books. Why would I want more? There was some confusion about whether people were allowed to bring books in on September 1 or September 8. (This depended on whether you got the “No donations in July and August” message or the “No donations from the Fourth of July to Labor Day” message.) But some people are far too happy-go-lucky to worry about such details.
So somebody brought me a 16th century book, the third or fourth, if I remember correctly, that we’ve had in thirty years. It looked a little dull, but that may be sour grapes, as I really didn’t get much of a chance to look at it before it zipped upstairs. The covers had come off, too.
We also had a bit of cardboard come in. It had a color aerial shot of the Chicago lakefront on it, with wording to certify that the person named on it was entitled to run a concession at the Century of Progress Exposition (1933 World’s fair, to you.) This bit of cardboard went upstairs in the same load. I may see both of these again, someday, if the Newberry already has ‘em.
Somebody gave us a children’s puppet theater book of, oh, 1877 or so, and a small stack of newspapers published by those of the U.S. Army stationed in the Aleutians in 1944 and 1945. I must actually sit down and read through these, since Dashiell Hammett (author of The Maltese Falcon) spent his war stationed up in those Alaskan islands, and if he wrote so much as a paragraph in one of these, the price goes up.
Somebody’s collection of books by Janet Evanovich arrived. This is hardly unusual, as people are giving us her Stephanie Plum mysteries all the time. But this collector had actually sought out her books for Loveswept Romances, which took a little extra effort. The collection also included a signed book by Christine Feehan, one of the pioneers of paranormal romance.
So, you see, I actually have plenty to do without you bringing me more toys to play with. And, anyhow, I won’t be around, because, if I forgot to mention this, the library is CLOSED for THREE WHOLE DAYS. Go grill some sardine smores or engage in other Labor Day-appropriate activities. Go wild and read a book. Just don’t bring it to me when you finish…at least until Tuesday.