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Library Corner: Cool facts about the library

Stephanie Ralph
Grand County Library District

Sometimes as library professionals we lose sight of what is truly important to our customers. In her article, “Cool Facts About the Library” in The New Yorker on April 30, 2018, Riane Konc offered some essential yet little known information on libraries.

It’s illegal to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded library. You have to go whisper it to each person individually.

Before the introduction of the first American public library, in 1833, there was nowhere you could go to conduct research for free. You probably just had to use the internet.

Whether they sort their books alphabetically, with the Dewey decimal system, or the Library of Congress system, all libraries agree on one thing: I should have finished my tuna-fish sandwich outside.

Many people don’t want to admit this, but you can learn more by spending a single day in the library than you could spending four years loitering outside of a 7-Eleven.

Really thick books have many nicknames: doorstops, tomes, nerd magnets. But, to me, they’re just extremely hard to steal.

If you were looking for a book with a title like “How to Very Quickly Learn to Defend Yourself in a Physical Fight,” and you noticed a group of teen-agers in leather jackets hanging out where that book was shelved, combing their hair menacingly, you would probably take that as a good sign, right? Well, you’d be wrong.

The library is a great place to go to learn about even the most niche topics. For example, did you know that the mating call of the three-wattled bellbird, when imitated by a human, will cause a librarian to say, “Sir, if you don’t leave on your own, I’m getting security.”

For now, physical books are still more popular than e-books. But, as soon as e-books start incorporating the rest of the alphabet, physical books are probably done for.

Stephanie Ralph is the executive director of the Grand County Library District.


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