the tale of the leaning shelf

July 18, 2007

Today, I saved the library. Allow me to explain.

In the far back of the second floor, behind rows and rows of shelves; at the end of the oldest of old magazines and professional journals; back near the small closest-like carrels that hold forgotten tomes and host thesis thought; back where the dust is thick and the air is soggy, there is a lone row of shelves.

Upon these shelves lie the forgotten volumes of lore and fact now mastered by the dreaded beast, JSTOR. These weakened and decrepit books, whose innards have been rendered useless, stay dormant atop shining metal racks, waiting to simply be disposed of like so many rotting bodies. It was here that my adventure await me.

I approached the shelves with ardor, noting that its solid nine feet stood at an angle, threatening to fall like a domino. My task was to remove the books–old bound copies of newspapers from a time when time was young, and people were happy, noting only the comings and goings of their neighbors as worthy news. I lifted a few volumes, but noticed that this was the side when faced away from the slant of the stack, and so I proceeded with caution.

Standing back at a distance, I viewed this horrible predicament with fear. What was I to do? I cannot simply complete my task, leaving the nine foot monstrosity of counterbalanced doom to its own devious physics. No! I had to remove all the forgotten, zombied tomes from the leaning side. I had to venture into the shadow of the leaning shelf, and procure a proper removal of all the dead weight.

Thousands of volumes! Tens of thousands! I pulled them off, one by one, and carted them across an ocean of carpet to be placed gingerly in stacks about the main whereabouts of the Periodicals section, where I am in employ. By hand, forcefully, with might and valor, I ventured again and again into the depths of possible ruin, awaiting the moment when I should remove the one bound book that would secure the collapse of this wall and trap me under a mountain of rubble and paper.

Oh, what a task! I slaved for hours. Hours! I knew that at any moment, all eight sections of the shelf, nearly ten yards wide, nine feet high, and full of 10,000 pounds of fibrous death, would come crashing down on me, knocking the next shelf over, colliding into walls and more shelves! Such a disaster would destroy countless documents from many kingdoms and records even the Saints themselves could not repair! So much knowledge, so many important artifacts would be lost, buried under corrugated aluminum ruin.

It seemed a whole day has gone past since that incident, and I live to tell the tale. Forgot not my journey, weary travelers, and warn all you see of the dangers of a leaning shelf in any library!



  1. Haha, this made me laugh out loud a couple of times. Oy. *wipes eyes*

    Maybe this is great because I’m an archivist. Who knows. At any rate, library posts make me happy.

  2. BUGS! This was a DELIGHT to read!! THANK YOU!

    Firewings, it may be great for archivists, but it’s great for geeky English teachers, too!

  3. Heh, D, you might like this: http://nedroid.com/bcpage1.html

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