Following The Map To The Book

Phillip and Amy and I talked about books last night, among many other topics. Phillip recommended a book named The Plague Dogs, by Richard Adams. I decided I wanted to read it.

I checked on the Seattle Public Library web site. The library has two copies – both large print editions, and both housed at the Central Library. One belonged in the Fiction section on the 3rd level, but it was checked out. The other was on the shelf, according to the web site.

The Central Library is only a few blocks from my office, enough time to get there and back during lunch, so I decided to pick up the book instead of putting it on hold.

The library web site has a nifty map for the Central Library, showing where a book is shelved. The one available copy of The Plague Dogs was a bit cryptic, however. The instructions said: “Ask At Level 1 LEW Desk”. (I discovered, later, that “LEW” stands for “Literacy, English as a second language, and World languages.”) The map directed me to a desk between the non-English books and the Hold shelves.

I went to the desk and told the woman there that I was looking for The Plague Dogs, by Richard Anderson. She looked confused for a moment, and I don’t blame her. I was confused, too. Why was I asking here for this book? Then I added that the web site told me to ask for the book here, and that seemed to make sense to her.

The woman at the desk had a difficult time finding the book in the catalog, at first, mainly because I mis-remembered the author’s last name. (It’s “Adams”, not “Anderson”.) But once I told her it’s the same author who wrote Watership Down, she found it. We both had a laugh over me getting the name wrong. She told me she’d be right back, left the desk, and disappeared down a hallway. She returned, and handed me the book.

I checked the book out and walked back to work, wondering what’s so special about this copy – so special that I had to ask for it, so special that it was kept in a back room. It’s another library mystery.

I have no complaints about The Seattle Public Library. It’s just that sometimes I don’t understand why they do things the way they do.

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