By Jason Offutt
The library was quiet, as it should be. That’s part of why I love libraries. It’s not just the fact that they’re big buildings full of books, they’re big buildings full of silence.
That is until my kids show up.
This time we stopped at the university library instead of the public library. I walk through my days with the fear that I’ll see our family picture next to the cash register of every business we enter. It’ll be thumbtacked to the wall under the handwritten sign, “Do NOT Serve These People.” I figured maybe it would help if we mixed up our routine.
If public libraries are quiet, college libraries during the summer are that special quiet reserved for uninhabited deserts, the Siberian tundra, and the Moon. The few heads that could turn did as the Boy and the Girl used their inside voices, which normal people would call outside voices. Their outside voices have a decibel level somewhere between a farm tractor and a jet aircraft. Our neighbors love us.
“Shhh,” I hissed, like that would do any good. Today’s children, in general, have a selective listening problem, mainly because it’s now illegal to parent. “You’re in a library. Act like you’ve seen a book.”
But libraries have more than books; you can find newspapers, magazines (periodicals always sounded so haughty), historical records, movies, people trying to study, and, in some cases, a Starbucks.
We were there for movies.
For the complete story, see the July 21 print edition of the Richmond News.