Librarians & Wikipedia

I really miss my college library. Five floors of glorious books dating all the way back to the fifties. I loved walking through the white metal stacks. I miss the prismatic waterfall lighting the stair tower. I miss the textures of the old books, almost like canvas but not exactly fabric. I miss the smell of yellowed paper. I miss the big windows that made the library seem like it was outdoors.

I haven’t been to my local library much recently. I went looking for books on Appalachia this summer, and the librarian told me, “Have you tried Wikipedia?” Of all people, the librarian should be most interested in keeping libraries alive. Wikipedia is not a library. There’s nothing like finding the perfect book when you didn’t quite know what you were looking for. Nothing like that bit of thrill that comes with finding the exact book you needed. You can’t just walk through all the articles of Wikipedia, looking for one to jump out at you. The titles are meaningless.

I do love Wikipedia though. I use it to research things I’m too embarrassed to ask real people about. For example, tonight I went to a Christmas party that included a “dirty Santa” exchange. I had no idea what this was, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Turns out, it’s just a white elephant thing. I got a pen out of it. And a massive paper cut.

Side note, it’s really hard to look forward to things when every time you put your hand on the door knob, everything inside of you screams, “I don’t want to go!” *insert David Tennant gif* (Sorry, that was uncalled for.) That makes Christmastime really hard for me, especially because I don’t really like parties anyway. And of course everyone has to have a Christmas party.

But I’ve been to three different parties so far this month, and I’ve really enjoyed all of them. Goes to show, there is actually more to life than books. Not much, but more.

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