I wanted to title this something really mean, like “The Library of Congress Sucks” or “The Government Lied to Me” but that’s not really fair.
Since today is one of my weekend days (since I work on the weekend, I take Tues and Fri off…at least a bit), I decided to head over to the Library of Congress to track down that pesky book. I have a reader card, after all.
So I filled out the form and settled in to wait. I had checked beforehand to make sure I went to the closest reading room. Well my book was supposed to be in the Jefferson building, so I went to the Main Reading Room. That way I could get it comparatively sooner.
Having seen the notice before about 45 minute (or longer) wait times even in the building, I brought along another book. Thank goodness.
45 minutes came and went. Whatever.
Hour and fifteen minutes.
Hour and a half.
Hour and three quarters—the book-fetcher delivered me ………………… my request back. And in the upper right corner you’ll see a red “x” for “Not on Shelf.”
I suppose they lost it…or it “walked out” (can books do that at the LOC? they do it all the time in our county library but we don’t have good security). That’s rather disappointing since it’s out-of-print and very hard to get one’s hands on. Ironic, too, since I grew up in a public library which did have it.
Of course, it could be that two of us came in one the same day with the same frustration about not finding it elsewhere. And since I don’t have all the facts I shouldn’t blame it on the library. I was quite nice to the lady, however, and thanked her for handling it. I know how it feels to be the one to tell a patron that we don’t have the book or it’s not on the shelf. And I know how it feels if the patron gets angry with me over something I didn’t do.
Anyway, while I ended up with a bit of a headache, I decided to make the most of my trip. So after emerging into a glorious day in DC, I walked from the library (across the street from the Capitol) down the National Mall until I got to the Smithsonian Metro Station (which actually has an exit on the Mall).
Birds were singing, trees and flowers were blooming, the sky was bright, the air was crisp. I’d advise bringing tissues in the future because the wind was also blowing up the dust, which made me sneeze. But on the whole it was a delicious walk.
Next step: Contact my mother, ask her to check the book out and mail it to me (perhaps on my old library card…it should still work).
Update: A few months later, I’ve gotten the book and taken extensive notes and completely forgiven the LOC, though I’m worried about whether or not they’ll find their copy. Even if I don’t need it any more, it’s a good book.