How to use a Library

Libraries are brothels for the mind. Which means that librarians are the madames, greeting the punters, understanding their strange tastes and needs and then pimping their books. That’s rubbish of course but it does wonders for the image of librarians.

Libraries were the original internet. All knowledge was available even in your local branch library. You could order a book and if they didn’t have it, they would get it from another library in Yorkshire that did. This would then give you the double pleasure of having the book you wanted and the knowledge that a Yorkshireman somewhere would be searching in vain for it. Of course many libraries now have free internet access which is very useful for looking things up online such as the opening times for the library.

There are two types of books in libraries - Catherine Cooksons and non-Catherine Cooksons. The non-Catherine Cooksons are big books on Britain’s Railways from The Air for men to browse through while their wives choose a Cookson.

When you’re in a library it’s important to respect the signs saying Silence. It’s common courtesy therefore to speak quietly when you’re on your mobile phone. For those who find keeping silent very difficult there are special rooms where you can go and shout your head off. Look for the sign Local History Archives.

Some remote rural areas have mobile libraries which drive around very slowly so that the books don’t fall off the shelves. Often it can take half an hour to negotiate a roundabout without the Britannicas shifting. Because mobile libraries can’t be everywhere, they are absolute sticklers for late books and will quite happily block your drive with their van until you hand back your Tintin in Tibet.

In most libraries there a section of large print books. The print is so large in these books that most of the text has to be removed. For example in 100 Years of Solitude you’ll be lucky to get 40 Years of Moderate Loneliness. What makes this even more of a swiz is that they only ever tell you about this in the small print.

Pensioners use libraries much the same way as junkies use dealers. An average pensioner will read an entire library in a year. Once they get hooked on a Barbara Taylor Bradford they will need that same high time and time again. Eventually they move on to something slightly harder like a Maeve Binchy or a Beryl Bainbridge. Finally, they end up stuck in a lonely room somewhere, mainlining book club offers. This is all rubbish of course, but it does wonders for the image of librarians.

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