conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Posts Tagged ‘Ramsey County Library

Welcome to the Arden Hills Library

leave a comment »

Despite online, people still gather in physical spaces

 

Library, reduced.

Library, reduced.

We are fans of the library. Specifically, the Ramsey County Library. We order constantly and compulsively. If the Ramsey County Library doesn’t have it, there is the MnLink Gateway, which has access to most everything printed, or so it seems (books printed in Australia are hard to get, but otherwise…).

A year ago, maybe two, the library moved to a more sustainable location and this old building (built in 1969) overlooking a wetland, was sold. It had been a low-slung structure with a 60’s vibe and lots of hard brick surfaces for our kids to bump into. It sort of resembled a mushroom from the outside, but the inside skylights brought in lots of light on sunny days. It was a cheery place where you came to know the librarians by name.

Library archives via Lillie News

Library archives via Lillie News

Even though much of what I use the library for today is online (that is, ordering books), there is still the showing up to pick up books and the dropping off of (sometimes overdue) books. And the picking up of more books. And in this picking up and dropping off, we see the same librarians and many of the same patrons, again and again. The local library is an honest point of connection.

Though the Arden Hills branch has now been reduced to a pile of rubble, it is hard for me to imagine the local, physical library going away or even dropping in importance as a community meeting point.

###

Images: Kirk Livingston, LillieNews.com

Written by kirkistan

April 27, 2015 at 9:50 am

Illegal Inscriber: We Are Brothers

leave a comment »

Warning: NSFL Image (Not Safe for Librarians)

BookNote-04162013Sometimes Ramsey County goes far afield to procure my desired book through their interlibrary loan system. Not so long ago a book about Levinas written by Sean Hand made its way to me all the way from Janesville, Wisconsin. I had not thought of that working community as a hot spot for continental philosophy, but life is full of surprises.

This copy of Levinas’ Totality and Infinity came from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. And somebody there did his thinking on paper. I say “his” because this scrawling looks like it was made with a masculine hand. I would like to buy this thinker a cup of coffee—his processing of the text is spectacular. He outlined sections of Levinas’ thought, he responded with gusto (exclamation points and double/triple underlines) to the sometimes obscure Levinasian sentences. His notations in the margins show him connecting Levinas to Hegel, Nietzsche, Sartre and Descartes. He is surprised when he finds “another way!” He offers a sad face upon realizing “the state is a totality.”

In fact the first 1/3 of the book is full of his incidental reactions and understandings, all scrawled in remarkably clear pencil in the margins. By half way through the book his interest seems to wane. The latter half of the book is free from all pencil inscriptions. Did he fall asleep in the library and miss his deadline? Did he finish his paper based “the same and the other” without ever getting to “exteriority and the face?”

I suspect so.

Even so, I’d like to have a chat with this illegal scribbler. This person has a lively mind, reaching out to make mental connections even as he reached out with graphite to record those firing synapses. Maybe this guy was even considering the poor dolt (this next other) who would pick up the text next—showing a kind of mercy on him.

I think the Ramsey County Librarian would also like to meet this scribbler. She wrote (for the tiny but loopy handwriting on the transfer label looks like a feminine hand to me) —wryly, to my mind: “pencil marks noted.”

###

Written by kirkistan

April 16, 2013 at 8:21 am

%d bloggers like this: