Libraries Usually Come To The Rescue

, , , | Hopeless | December 16, 2017

(After going through a very rough time, I feel like treating myself, so I book a holiday apartment in a small town. There’s a well-known history museum in this town that I’ve been planning to visit for a while, so I check their website thoroughly to make sure it will be open. I also specifically book a place that offers Wi-Fi so I can distract myself on rainy days. It’s worth noting that I have a “water allergy”: aquagenic urticaria. It’s extremely annoying; trust me… Sadly, things don’t go as planned. After one night, the Wi-Fi cuts off and can’t be restored. I can’t even use my phone as a hotspot, since I don’t get a signal inside the house. The weather turns really bad for early summer, with mostly heavy rain and even some hail. Due to my water allergy [umbrellas don’t protect against rain coming from the side], I’m mostly stuck in the apartment, since the next bus stop is also quite far away, and I quickly run out of books. As the sun comes out again, I immediately decide to visit the museum I came here for. It’s half an hour’s walk; I could take a bus for part of the way, but I decide against it, happy to just be outside. When I arrive at the museum, I see some construction going on at the entrance. Moving closer, I notice a sign stating that the whole place is currently closed due to renovations. Frustrated, I trudge back to the city centre and get a flyer from the local information. Among some places that I can’t easily reach without a car, there’s something about an exhibition on the history of book printing in the local library. Awesome! I look up the library on the map and walk over. It’s still 15 minutes until it opens for the afternoon, but I wait patiently. When the doors open, I walk up to the librarian.)

Me: “Good afternoon. I heard that there’s an exhibition on book printing in the library, and I’d love to see it!”

Librarian: “Oh, I’m sorry… The exhibition is currently closed. We recently got a new manager, and she hasn’t decided on whether she wants to keep the exhibits at all.”

Me: *dejected* “Oh… okay…”

Librarian: *apparently noticing my mood* “Are you a tourist?”

Me: “Yes, I’m from [City]. I mostly came here to see the history museum, but I just walked there and it’s closed. Then I heard about your place and came here, but I guess it’s not my lucky day.” *I smile, trying to sound light-hearted.*

Librarian: “You know what? The exhibition might be closed, but it’s all still there in the cellar. I can ask my colleague if she’d like to accompany you there.”

Me: “Oh, you don’t have to do that! I really don’t want to be a bother.”

Librarian: “Don’t worry! Wait here; I’ll be back soon.”

(She walks away and soon returns with another woman.)

Librarian: “That’s my colleague, Miss [Name]. She can show you around.”

Me: *beaming* “Thank you so much, that’s incredibly nice!”

Other Librarian: “Oh, I don’t mind! I actually just started working here a few weeks ago, and haven’t had time for more than a casual glance at the exhibits.”

(She walked me to the stairs, lifting some security rope so I could pass through. We walked through an empty room and reached another one filled with printing presses, showcases with old books, and examples of prints and handwritten texts in several writing systems, from Hebrew to Hindi. As a language geek, I was ecstatic. The librarian and I started talking about the exhibition, quickly drifting off to related topics – such as the foreign languages her daughter was learning, volunteering as a language teacher for refugees (which I do), and my plans to study linguistics. After spending at least half an hour looking around and chatting, she found some bookmarks, from an earlier event, which showed examples of old German handwriting, and gave one to me. I still think fondly of my visit there. Huge thanks to the two friendly librarians who took pity on a sad tourist. I still own that bookmark, and looking at it brings a smile to my face every time!)

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