Wednesday, 24 February 2016

In the library

With some trepidation I took myself off to Vigo central library on Tuesday morning. This library has always been a confused and confusing place with books on shelves according to no order I have seen elsewhere. Presumably there is an order as the books all have catalogue numbers but I have always found everything higgledy piggledy, do-it-yourself books alongside poetry alongside classical literature alongside theatrical works. Fine if you know exactly what you are looking for and can seek it on the computer system - awful if you want to browse. 

So I looked up a couple of authors on the computer and found lists of books. Not available! Not available! Not available! So it went on, until finally I came across two books with catalogue numbers, both seemingly available. When I got to the relevant sections of the shelves .... neither book was there!!! Grrrr!!!!! 

About to give up in frustration, I was making my way towards the exit when I spotted a section called "Narrativa". And there I found, ¡que sorpresa!, novels arranged in alphabetical order of author!!! What a novel idea! Quite what was meant by "narrativa" remains unclear. This was not a collection of what might be termed "light reading" for it included classics of literature, although I suspect that many of these are also included in the "literatura" shelves. 

Who says things never change? At last it is possible to browse in the Vigo central library! All they need to do now is sort out the heating system; the place is always far too hot! 

Another innovation in the library was the sign that read: Desde marzo 2016 prestamos E-Readers (aparatos lectores para libros eléctrónicos). I find myself amused by the fact that they advertise their intention to loan a bit of technology that they have no Spanish name for and in fact feel obliged to explain underneath the English name. Surely someone can come up with a pithy Spanish name for E-Readers, something other than "machines for reading electronic books". Ah, well, I have seen a number of kindles and the like around when travelling by train so as they become more widespread, someone will undoubtedly come up with a good Spanish name or a weird version of an English word to use instead or the term E-Reader will be adapted and adopted into the Spanish language! 

Thinking of the lady who was speaking admiringly about self-checkouts the other day, I wonder what she would make of the library in Oldham town centre: bright and airy and with machines where you can check your own library books in and out! No laborious checking your ticket, stamping the book and passing it over a magnetic reader. 

Inglaterra es un país moderno and we don't have funcionarios (civil servants) with protected jobs in the libraries!

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