Thursday, March 5, 2009

a library: bit 3 brown rice

. . .


Sometimes, when you look at posts, you wonder: Did the blogger make that up, just to post? I think most often not. There's so much to capture that, for me, it's difficult to get it all---sometimes, you just have to let the odd things go because you're out of film, or the battery is low, or in my case, the Blackberry won't allow you to take more than three pictures: 'system is full.' Highly frustrating!

And then,

There's the stuff that you question: Why would someone have a tiny package of brown rice in the library on the reading tables? The only thing I could come up with is that it may have been one of the homeless coming in with a goody bad from the Mission. There was what looked like an empty fried food carton, but I didn't get close enough to see what other items were inside the bag. Only the brown rice was outside. But then, I thought, why would the Mission give out bags of brown rice when clearly, homeless usually don't have stoves or a place to...cook? And then, I dropped the Hamlet (ArtSparker knows what that means) because I couldn't make immediate sense of it (not to mention I was supposed to be collecting books for my needlecraft and learning English displays).

A library's ideal function is to be a little bit like a bouquiniste's stall, a place for trouvailles. --Umberto Eco

Alberto Manguel:

An encyclopedia can be, among many other things, a space-saving device, since a library endlessly divided into books requires an ever-expanding home that can take on nightmare dimensions. Legend has it that Sarah Winchester, widow of the famous gun-maker whose rifle 'won the West,' was told by a medium that as long as construction on her California house continued, the ghosts of the Indians killed by her husband's rifle would be kept at bay. The house grew and grew, like a thing in a dream, until its hundred and sixty rooms covered six acres of ground; this monster is still visible in the heart of Silicon Valley. Every library suffers from this urge to increase in order to pacify our literary ghosts, 'the ancient dead who rise from books to speak to us' (as Seneca described them in the first century a.d.), to branch out and bloat until, on some inconceivable last day, it will include every volume ever written on every subject imaginable.



In the end, Jorge Luis Borges once imagined the infinite library of all possible books, but later discovered that the world itself *is* the universal library.

1 comment:

ArtSparker said...

Signs & portents among the stacks. I wonder what Philip K. Dick would make of it?