Love and Library Shelves

The library is under construction. There are barriers set up in every direction, turning the open layout into a mouse-maze, with a reward greater than most that I know: books.

Everyone knows what a book hound I am. I make no secret of it. I take full advantage of inter-library loans, World Cat, borrowing from research libraries. Access. Academia. A merry-go-round of graphic novels and craft books, novels I’ve waiting years to read. But Broward’s Main Library blows me away.

Years ago, I’d come here, took out books on my boyfriend’s card, children’s books in French. Today, I have my own card, and the stacks seem vaster than the public libraries I’ve known in New York. I fell in love with the libraries of New York, paging through copies of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, lolling through older editions of Tolkien. Here? There are floors and floors and just as many spines to run my fingers along.

This, and everywhere ants. Not insects, but workers… construction, hard hats: ants. The fountains are silent and the escalators are stopped. I am in the bowels of a beast rebuilding itself, scaffolding enfolding terraces, cranes still as wading birds rising high into the sky. The shelves have been shuffled in order to allow the workers passage.

I like the feeling of incompleteness this creates. I like the sense of movement and renewal. I like that the open floor plan with seven landings to look over allows me to see it all in progress; five foot cubicle dividers can’t hide the bustle and shift when I’m peering down from two floors up.

I can’t wait until it’s finished. I never want it to be complete.

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