Sittin’ on a shelf

|Carla McAllister|

Boy, it has been real quiet around here lately. I don’t know what has happened, but I am gathering a lot of dust. I miss all the hub-bub that used to take place here. There were two real nice ladies who were here most every day and there were some others that came and went. Those that came and went often placed me and my friends back into our proper spaces on the shelves because we had been lucky enough to make a visit outside of this building and we wanted to be easily found the next time someone wished to take us home. I get taken out for visits quite often and that is so much fun. If I come back with any injuries or stains, one of those nice ladies fixes me right up and I always appreciated that care.  Some of my mates have had to leave the building and go for some kind of serious surgery, I think they go to a bindery, where they get their backs broken and replaced. I hear it really hurts. I hope that never happens to me.

Those that came and went also took care of the various greenery all round and helped periodically when we were all counted, dusted, and checked for injuries and the like. Those folks seem to have disappeared too.

My spot is on the second shelf down from the top. I like it here and this is where I want to always be. The guys and gals on the top shelf oversee everything that goes on and that is not a responsibility I want.

I especially enjoyed the little ones; I miss the pitter patter of little feet and the laughter and singing that often took place down near that beautiful window seat area. I think that was a space that was especially for the littler ones that came to visit. The bigger folk would sometimes read to the littles and I really liked that. There were certain books that I really enjoyed but the memories of those stories are fading quickly and that makes me sad.

I also had a good spot to watch folks at the long table who worked on some sort of picture that seemed to have been broken. They would piece it back together. There was often an older fellow there who became friends with a youngster over this activity and that was really sweet to see. Some people would work at that game for hours and hours. I think maybe they liked to get out and about instead of staying at home all the time. After they got it all back together, they would break it all apart again. Boy, is that silly or what? I don’t understand some folks.

The guys right across from me are an uppity bunch. They apparently have a red stamp on them that says REFERENCE NOT TO LEAVE LIBRARY. They think that makes them special. Personally, I can’t imagine staying here all the time. I would really miss being handled by different folks, overhearing what is going on in different homes, even being read out loud and talked about. I particularly like that! That REFERENCE section is quite snobby.

Then, there are those big, huge, dark blue books. They have like 20 volumes! They are so full of themselves. They even have assigned themselves an acronym: OED.  They love the sound of their own voices. When someone takes one of them down and reads out loud, holy smokes, it just goes on and on! Jeesh, guys, don’t you know the meaning of the word concise, or succinct, brief, abridged or taciturn? I bet you know the meaning of the words loquacious, verbose, prattle, jabber, chinwag, yadda yadda yadda, and blah blah blah.

Then there were people of all ages who sat at those spots where they would type away and type away, making clicking sounds that I found kind of soothing. They would sometimes hoot with glee when they accomplished what they wanted. I think they were finding information about topics they were interested in or maybe studying something. Some of them seemed kind of stressed. I think they were looking for something called a job. When they were confused they would ask one of the two ladies for help and they would gladly come over and remedy the situation.

There is also a big room that seemed to be used for activities. There were youngsters who met there regularly and did fun stuff. I think they did something called tie-dying and another time they were learning about birds. Some of those little ones really came out of their quiet little shells when they spoke about something they had studied and showed posters and everything.  I think they called it a presentation. I couldn’t see those posters from here but they must have been really impressive cause there was often lots of applause.

That big room is now full of my mates who are yearning to be put back in their proper places. Worse, there are books from other libraries that visited our library because we didn’t have those particular books here and our folks wanted them and they are softly weeping because they are homesick for their home shelves. Even worse than that, some of them are still going through their super popular phases cause they are brand spanking new and they want to get back home as soon as possible because there are folks waiting in line wanting them to visit their homes! It is a sad situation, for sure.

Sometimes there were groups that met in there and I think they must have all read the same book because, boy, they would have some rather loud conversations about what they thought of it! There was also lots of laughing and talking and I could sometimes see some yummy looking snacks and such from here but, alas, I was never invited in there. But that is OK. I know my place.

I also have a great view out the windows. Lately there have been lots of people gathering, reading books. There has been lots of waving and honking of horns from vehicles going by. That is rather unusual. I never saw that before. I am not sure what that is all about, but I sure like at least getting to see some folks. I recognize lots of them because they were often inside.

It is that time when there is lots of color outside. I know after that it gets colder and we lose light really early. That is going to mean a lot of dark hours in here for me and my compatriots. I think that is a bad thing. None of us want to be alone in the dark. I am hoping that something will change and soon the folks will come back. I wish I knew what to do to make that happen.

I wish I knew what I did wrong to be abandoned like this. I never asked for much, I knew my place, I enjoyed the people that came in this building and I feel that I made a nice connection with a lot of them cause lots of them return again and again and chat, get advice about books, get help with those typing machines. I overheard people talking about this place being a community center for the town but it sure isn’t right now.

If you have any ideas, please let the people in charge of this place know. If I had fingers, I would be keeping them crossed that things will work out, the lights will come back on, and the heat will be turned up, hey, maybe even a dehumidifier to keep my friends and me from getting damp, moldy and damaged. That is a rough way to go, for sure!

Well, that is about it for me. I sure hope to see you folks soon. I will be here waiting for you!