It’s quiet here, but busy too, and it’s a place where I feel I belong. Speech is rare because, like me, other people here are busy writing, making notes, or simply reading. Of course, life couldn’t be like this all the time – it’s a relief at times to go over the road for a coffee and hear voices again. But it’s great, I love it.
I was in a different library recently, one newly built with public funds… There were 50 people there, all quietly reading, when in walks this one guy yelling into his mobile. You know those ‘I’m-on-the-bus’ conversations? Well, this time it was ‘I’m-in-the-library’. The person at the other end didn’t believe him, he kept on saying ‘I’m-in-the-library’, louder each time. This guy didn’t want to use any of the library facilities except an armchair; he settled in one near me, still talking. After a bit I gave up and left. A librarian saw, and apologised. ‘I can’t say anything,’ she said. ‘Our new policy says it’s OK to talk or use your mobile phone.’ Weird. There are already so many places to use a phone. Why would we need another?