Thursday, November 6, 2008

Patron needs beyond the library

So your average punter has spent a good hour or so searching the stacks for enough brain fodder to keep them going for a week or so. Where the heck are they going to find the right ambience to do their reading. Sure, there’s always the good old bedroom, late at night - when something of the heft of a 10-foot bargepole is needed to keep the eyelids open. But where does one find such a reading aid, let alone instructions for using it?

Of course, there’s those lucky enough to use a ‘commute’ to work - ideal place to read? Not. At least the Poms have cell phone-free rail carriages - but what about the rest of the semi-civilised world? Even if the moron next to you on the train isn’t jabbering on inanely and incessantly about some great new love of his/her life, there’s the choom-choom-choom of personal (!) music systems to contend with.

Despite having so far resisted the urge to carry wire cutters or small nail scissors to further personalise a listening experience - by a little subtle snipping of earphone wires, nothing involving the actual spilling of blood, you understand - there are days when there is clearly a need for Noise Police on public transport.

Sure, there are Transit Police, largely responsible it seems for ensuring the continued existence of railway coffee shops; the ubiquitous Ticket Inspectors that protect the state’s fragile economy, adding to the billions of dollars surplus the government isn’t keen to actually part with; not to mention our fine, though stretched, ‘mainstream’ Police Service.

But who is going to conserve a potential reading environment for those library users attempting to maximise the use of their travel time? Commuting librarians with nail scissors?

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