Thursday, February 19, 2009

Library


The closest I've been to a library in the last 10 years is either watching ghostbuster's on DVD or walking past it on my way to lunch each Friday! Seriously, I haven't been inside a library since my kids were in school and we had to have those awful 'meetings' with the teacher or 'briefings' on the Japanese exchange trip whilst crammed into a school library where the librarian literally hung around to make sure the parents weren't defacing her valuable charges (books not kids) and swathed in posters with lame bi-lines "Books are Good", or "Reading is Knowledge".

Although something I wrote and contributed to for over 15 years is actually 'in' a library. Quite a posh library too. True . .I kid you not. The National Library in Canberra has since 1975 collected every journal, periodical public and corporate in their archives. If it has an ISBN number, it's locked away in their vaults for the useless and commercial. I was stunned one day to receive an email (very progressive considering it was 1987 and PC's were in fact barely new and all were made by Amstrad or Macintosh without the familiar little apple logo.) requesting that I forward a copy of our 32 page mag to the National Library to be held in posterity for people who might forget the fine art of Direct Selling.

The librarian, or one of them from the National Library wanted copies of our Amagram . . http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/283704 innovative name I know but I worked in an in-house design studio for the American direct selling company that sounded like American Way only abbreviated. We produced a monthly in-house magazine for the plethora of "I want to show you a fantastic opportunity" distributors. Filled with editorial interviews of gregariously evangelical people dying to sell you soap that was biodegradable or vitamins that would have you looking like Arnie Swarzenegger on a good day and cosmetics that would have the most erstwhile of terry towelling tracksuited housewives poncing to the mailbox looking more like Denise Richards after half an hour with a make-up artist.

Yep, my humble ramblings, interviews and witty bi-lines are preserved forever in the National Library, month after month. Some editions outpublishing and out-circulating Australian Vogue or the Women's Weekly (which is weird because it's actually monthly - the butt of many jokes). Then there was the time when I ordered 24,000 extra copies due to a typographical error - they probably ended up wrapping fish at the local fishmonders.

There were no Megan Gales or Elle McPhersons donning their pages although we did have Jimmy Packer's first squeeze Jodie someone bursting out of a swimsuit once during a photo shoot. And Clare featured as a baby in a fabric softener ad and Adam as a six year old spruiking vitamins on a basketball court in an oversised Sydney Kings uniform. Don't get me wrong, this was a classy in-house. Great designers and art directors, well-known fashion photographers, no expense spared in propogating the fantastic products that could change your lot in life and guarantee you wealth beyond your wildest dreams.

They were the good days. Nice studio, state of the art equipment, a great bunch of people and Gypsy Kings singing Bombalao on Friday's after lunch. Sadly, none of us were permitted to have our names imprinted on the contents page so all contributors, no matter how creative or stifled are recognised within it's hallowed pages. Ah well . . humility is my friend . . but I would have liked a teensy credit somewhere down near the copyright statement or the disclaimer.

I will go to a library . . one day . . I believe you can borrow books for up to three weeks for no charge and if you choose to stay 'in' the library to read, you can get a cappucino in the coffee shop and shoosh noisy school children who giggle over D H Lawrence and the phrase in Lady Chatterly's Lover where 'She felt the bud-like reticence of his penis'. Used to get a giggle out of that one! My Amagram is probably parked somewhere between Mills and Boon and the Nutrimetics Catalogue.

20 comments:

Miles McClagan said...

And where do homeless people go to get some sleep? The microfiche section! Maybe. Do they still have microfiche? And I think I'm the library too now...oh dear oh dear...that IS a worry...

nick said...

I haven't been to a library for a long while either. The book budgets have been so slashed over the years that they seldom had any newly-published titles. If you put yourself on a waiting list for a title, there'd be fifty people ahead of you so you could expect a six month wait.

So all I had to choose from was novels published six years ago or obsolete travel guides urging me to visit the Twin Towers.

So now I buy all my books. After all, paperbacks are pretty cheap and if I use Amazon I don't even have to trail down to the library.

subtorp77 said...

Hi Baino. Cambridge University-England has a similar repository, which they are supposed to start putting on-line( in the very near future ). I'm hoping it wasn't scuttlebutt.

Grow Up said...

Man, haven't been in a library in years either. I was a regular in the local one as a kid and then in boarding school I worked in the school one. Sounds like fun.

Terence McDanger said...

Bud-Lite reticence of the penis?

Maaaaan I get that all the time.

Susan said...

Wow, congratulations! Next time I'm in Canberra I'll check you out (library joke, ha ha).

I'm an ex-librarian and a confessed library addict. I can't go through a town for the first time without parking the car and checking out their library's stack arrangement, circulation desk, and where they've put the biographies. God I'm such a nerd.

Ropi said...

Uh, I like Ghostbusters.

Gledwood said...

... but woe betide you should you want a biography of Elizabeth I not slanted towards her (probably nonexistent anyway) sex life because they probably won't have one or it will be in storage and they might even have the cheek to make you PAY to retrieve it!
Of course if you want Sharon Osbourne's memoirs there'll be loads...

Gledwood said...

I can't use the library "properly" as I owe too many fines. I get my books from charity shops

laughingwolf said...

never liked any amway products, but they did have pro brochures...

when i was with 3m company, i did get bylines for my stuff in the newsletter, but can't recall if i did for any of the blurbs i sent out re. 'new/improved' products

no matter, they paid a really swell salary :)

tut-tut said...

ha! pop in and borrow a DVD or a book. Maybe you'll be back!

steph said...

I'm such a stinge, I'm an ardent enthusiast of our library service. The fact that I live within 2 mins walk of a library helps a lot too.

By comparison with Nick's comment on book budgets, libraries in my area are very well stocked. In fact, so well stocked that they can't keep up with the number of new books arriving every week.

When I hear/read a review of a new book that takes my fancy, I put in a request for it through the local library and for the massive sum of 50c (covers phone call to let me know it's arrived), I can collect a brand new hardback to enjoy within weeks of it's publication.

You're missing out, Baino!

Baino said...

Miley you're asking the wrong person! Haven't been in one remember. I remember microfiche at uni tho. Pain in the ass. Your mission should you choose to accept it is to find out!

I'm not a great reader Nick but seem to get by on borrowed editions or Clare buys them first! Second hand bookshops are pretty good and we have a book exchange which is cheap as chip as well.

I'm sure a few libraries do it Subby although why they want to keep household catalogues and in-house mags I'll never know!

Dunno GrowUP, never had much 'fun' in the library although I believe behaving badly with 'librarian's is a ranking male fantasy!

Aww Tez ... put the heater on!

I guess the internet has sort of replaced them for me Suze, I do loads of research but it's much quicker googling than thumbing through the Dewey system! I visit them for the 'architecture' if I'm travelling but never borrow books!

Ropi, thought you might!

Clearly Gleds, you spend a little time in Libraries . . . I guess my post is proof they'll put just about anything on the shelves!

Wuffa it was a great job, a really great job and I loved the people I worked with but the company itself . . well there's another post in that one! Then it was the 80's and 90's lots of money to spend on flash publications.

I should Tut-Tut! My girlfriend goes every Friday after we have lunch. One of these days . .(after I've red the five books sitting on my bedside table)

I guess so Steph but I'm a 'slow' reader as you know. Not a bad one, just pathetically slow. Read three pages, fall asleep then have to revisit them the next day! I do like the 'smell' of a library tho!

Cinnamon said...

Talk about keeping warm in the library (were we?)- ever seen 'The day after Tomorrow', when the world freezes and the survivors burn all the books in library to keep warm..?

River said...

I love libraries and visit them often. I live within walking distance of three, with two more just a bus ride away. then there's the Semaphore library, out by the beach, I spent a lot of time there when I lived on Semaphore road. I never bother with any of the classical or reference sections, I prefer fiction, it's a great way to "escape" when reality hits a bit too hard. Coincidentally, I was watching my Ghostbusters dvd yeaterday.

Squirrel said...

I feel horrible hearing about all of the places where libraries are suffering. It seems they should certainly be a big priority in any community.
For now our system is growing and thriving, with good people as library staff, and I would hope that for all communities. I'm going to trot over the state line this weekend to see how those some of those libraries are doing.

Mrsupole said...

I too have not stepped into a library for years, I do not know why. I go to book stores, which is why I own so many books. I buy a lot of books at Costco and at Amazon.com. I think maybe because when I was a child, I never owned any books, I feel the need to own them now.

Thank you for visiting my site.
I loved the story of your grandparents. I wonder what mine will say when we are gone. I feel so lucky to be close to my grandchildren. I was never close to my grandparents, and so it is important for us to be close to our grandkids. Take care.

Megan said...

Whew, finally made it! And what an anti-climax - your work is preserved forever, but it doesn't have your name on it? :(

I go to the library every couple weeks. I like them. And I like Ghostbusters, too.

Ces said...

I knew you were famous! Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library someday, first we shall meet right by Patience or Fortitude.

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