Saturday, June 23, 2007

Seeing ghosts of a younger me at the public library

Mood: nostalgic
Listening to: quiet
Reading: Who Let the Blogs Out?: A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs
Eating: nothing - feeling hungry

I'm inside the main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Being here brings back a lot of memories. The library has changed considerably since I was a child, but some of it is still the same.

I used to catch the 17 bus from home to downtown. I would sometimes come down here with my best friend David Mixon, other times accompanied by his younger brother Adam, and still other times by myself. This library was one of the coolest places to hang out. I even had dreams about things happening down here.

  • I remember poring over the items in the Films and Recordings department. I recall vividly searching through the card catalog drawers to find some interesting music. Other times, I'd browse the LPs and cassettes - CDs weren't around that much just yet. I remember testing some LPs on the record player they had set up, to see if I really wanted to check out the record.
  • Another time I remember spending a lot of time down here was in my junior year of high school, while working on my English term paper on Miles Davis. I would spend entire days up in the Arts and Literature department on the third floor, poring over materials. I would often listen to music I'd put on cassettes in my Walkman.
  • Yet another time I was reminded of just this morning was when I'd graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1994 and was looking for a job. I spent a lot of time at the Government and Business department back then. I remember, after learning of an interview I had with Alcoa Building Products in Sidney, Ohio, looking through scores of newspaper articles and other publications to find out anything I could about the company. Looking through microfiche and other materials, I'd print out and make copies of pages for my company research, back before the internet was really mainstream.
  • And then again, after receiving a job offer, I remember coming back to the G&B department to research the kind of car I wanted to get, spending lots of time going over reliability reports and insurance information.
I'm really impressed by all the changes to the downtown library, especially as I look at all the computers and the addition to the building that was done several years ago. Films and Recordings is now on the first floor. The Mezzanine, which used to be a paperback book area, is now a snack area and gift shop. The card catalog has been replaced on the first floor by a bank of computers. The checkout is no longer right at the both exits, but instead in a more central area.

Yet as I walk through this building, I still see younger versions of me doing the things I used to do so long ago.

Related tags:

No comments: