Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Forgotten Books, Empty Stacks, and The New Normal?

NOTE:  I arrived early at Carey yesterday, as always, and did my reading, and then I started to draft a blog post for my day's writing.  Words cannot describe just how much I want to just take pictures of the pages, and paste those in here.  But it needs editing and placement stuff, so here it is all nice and neat and typed.

Whilst I was at Perk, I always spent time in the stacks (see here, here, here).  In the old library, there were two levels.  The bottom level was where the computers and reference books were.  This is where most of the library's patrons stayed.

Then, on either side of the bottom level, were the top levels.  On the left side was A-P (Library of Congress system), and on the other side, Q-Z.

On the A-P side, there were the cubby desks with the power outlets for a laptop or phone charger.  On the Q-Z side, there was another row of the cubby desks, and a comfy leather couch it wasn't uncommon to find someone napping on.

I probably spent as much time in the library as I did in class.  I would always get there early, and sit and read or write, or just wander the stacks.  More often than not, I would be alone on the upper level.  Nobody knew I was up there, and I didn't care about the people down on the first level on the computers.  I had a few "spots" where I'd on the floor, against the wall, and read or write.  It wasn't comfortable, but it was comforting being around so many books.

It didn't matter that I'd never read them, and some I never touched.  They were there, just waiting to be picked up.  By someone.  Anyone.

I had similar experiences at the JD library for my semester there, although it wasn't the same.

The Perk library has a new building and setup now.  I'm kind of glad I'm done there, because it's just not the same.

The William Carey University, Tradition campus, where I go, has 14 cubby desks, 10 with computers/4 without, and 12 long double-sided shelves.

Nobody wanders the stacks.  I did, my first few times.  I didn't find an out-of-the-way spot, and I found even less of interest.  It's a Christian school, options are limited.  There weren't many patrons, and most of those are at computers.

Despite the lack of books, I'm saddened to see nobody perusing the shelves of books, meager though they be.  Although, some of that could be due to the fact it's a non-traditional campus (ironically situated outside the outskirts of Tradition, MS).  A lot of the students (and I mean over 50% of them) are back-to-school type students.  Older, mostly a lot of married ones with kids, and the like.  I'm a minority.

Or maybe it's because I'm working toward my Bachelor's and the lifestyle changes somewhere between sophomore and junior year of college.  Although, I'm not certain grey hair is one of those changes...

My point is, I'm still living at home, mooching off my parents, and I sit in classrooms full of adults.  I don't consider myself an adult.  I work and pay 3-4 bills, and my gas, and go to school.  I know squat about insurances and taxes, how to make a budget, and all that important stuff grups have to worry about (and I've been capping off most nights with an episode of the old 60s Star Trek--my last episode was "Miri).

I'm 21.  I watch Disney movies while drinking (although I haven't drank in a while now).  I'm having the best time of my life right now, or trying to.  However, one day, pretty soon, I will have to consider myself an adult, and act like one, and try to be a contributing member to society.

Hopefully though, I get a few more young-and-stupid years.  However a lot of people I went to school with, or are my age, are having kids and getting married, and I'm just here going to school, working, and reading and writing.

My one real foray into adulthood is working a job I hate.  Sometimes.  It makes me glad I don't want to be anything really other than a writer, because I'm certain I'd blow my brains out if I tried to make a career out of anything else.

Which brings me full circle.  There aren't many readers in Mississippi.  And if there are, where the heck are they?  I mean, I know they're there--Gulfport and Hattiesburg can actually support the bookstores, but there's got to be proper-age college students that read somewhere.

For my next college (because despite what I say about the I'm-only-a-writer-thing, I do want to be Dr. Jadi), I am looking for a grad school that has a good library and a town with a lot of readers.  And the places, I guess, with a good psychology program.

There's something depressing about an ignored library.  Unfortunately, that's Mississippi for you.  Not that I'm bashing my state.  Yes, we're one of the poorest, but we are the most charitable.  That's saying something.

Just not good enough for me to want to stay.  I don't think it's wrong for me to want to be with people I actually have stuff in common with.

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