Thursday, January 17, 2008

Library Makeover



After close to a year of construction, San Francisco's Main Branch library reopened its first floor on Wednesday morning.



For $6 million, I was expecting something a bit more fabulous, but the place looks pretty much the same as it always has.



I missed the speeches by various dignitaries but did arrive in time for a smashing performance by a mariachi band called La Nueva Generacion...



...that featured a female lead singer so good she could have been channeling the legendary Chavela Vargas.



The major difference in the layout of the first floor is a large, glass-enclosed room with its own security door for the large collection of DVDs, VHS tapes, and CDs which used to be casually stolen by the local crackheads at an alarming rate.



Unfortunately, the majority of the DVDs and CDs are the same seriously scratched and injured discs they have always had at the Main Library, which has led more than once to a movie freezing on my DVD player at a climactic moment, which can be a serious bummer.



To add to the discomfort, library employees in the "media room" no longer check anything out. Instead, you have to line up at a pair of computers, put your library card under a scanner, and then scan the barcodes yourself.



I had already checked out a P.G. Wodehouse novel which kept setting off all the alarms every time I walked through the media room security portals, but the security staff just laughed and waved me through.



Still, there is one good reason to celebrate the makeover, which is that most of the first floor space is filled with books. In fact, the Fiction section of the library has finally been put into one place for the first time since the move into the new Main branch building in the 1990s, and finding that Wodehouse novel was miraculously simple.

10 comments:

zoo said...

jeeves and wooster?

sfmike said...

Yeah, I'm starting with "The Inimitable Jeeves," the first novel from 1924.

rootlesscosmo said...

When I read a lot of Wodehouse, I found I liked his character Psmith ("the p is silent, as in pshrimp") better than Bertie Wooster and Jeeves.

sfmike said...

Thanks for the tip, rootlesscosmo. I've never read anything by him except for "Bring on the Girls!" his memoir with Guy Bolton about their musical comedy days, but it was so good I figured it was time to start. What book should I look for with Psmith?

zoo said...

hugh laurie and stephen fry were great!

Sprout said...

Look for "Psmith In The City" and "Leave it to Psmith"; "Mike and Psmith" does not have the same sophistication and charm, but is quite funny.

rootlesscosmo said...

Thanks, sprout--the titles are sort of a blur in my mind after, let's see, 53 or 54 years.

But I have to mention the S.J. Perelman character, shipwrecked in the frozen North, who survived on "the few ptarmigan that fell to the ptrigger of his pfowling-piece."

Les said...

It is possible to repair a scratched CD or DVD. I have a tutorial: http://www.celesteh.com/music/cd.html

I noted you snapped a picture of somebody next to Boys Don't Cry.

namastenancy said...

Good article; I visited the Main yesterday and wrote about my visit at:
http://namastenancy.livejournal.com/

and I linked to your post as well as the link to the web pages about the Prop D rip-off. Every time I go to the library, I'm saddened by the waste and missed opportunity.

greg said...

hey don't forget the little magic conveyor belt!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=4-y9t4sqBBo