Benbrook Library / Library services

Reference After Dark


A few months ago, I regaled you with this tale of how a plucky library staff defied impossible odds to valiantly serve its patrons during a harrowing Internet outage. Because the universe is cruel and lacks both memory and a sense of justice, history repeated itself earlier this week, only this time, it knocked things up a notch. Yes, this go-round, we were hit with something that left us pining for the good ol’ days when an Internet-less world was our biggest problem: a full-blown power outage.

Our hour-long trip to the Dark Ages was uncharted territory for me in my journey through the shelf life, as all previous losses of power had been brief flickers that lasted only long enough to ensure whatever e-mail I had just painstakingly typed would have to be completely redone. Without lights for seein’, air conditioning for coolin’, and computers for doin’ pretty much all other work and general life functions, the library experience for staff and patrons alike became drastically different. Most of our visitors fled before the primitive conditions inevitably sparked a spiral into all-out Lord of the Flies mode, but the employees had no choice but to remain composed in the heart of darkness and keep right on serving. Always the prepared one, my colleague Miranda grabbed her emergency flashlight, and together the two of us manned (and wo-manned) the Information Desk. While most who approached our impotent automatic doors chose not to enter the abyss, a couple of brave souls came in seeking books, and we were resolved not to deny them. I used the lifesaving (and indispensable for all Benbrook library lovers) Boopsie app on my beloved magic phone to search the catalog, and Miranda took to the stacks with the trusty flashlight to track down the sought after items. Circulation finished the deal by doing an old school ink and paper checkout. It was beautiful teamwork in the face of adversity, and truly the inspiring stuff straight-to-DVD movies are made of.

So, once again, uncooperative technology tried to slow our roll at BPL, and once again, we persevered and overcame. Bring it on, technology. And by bring it on, I mean please, please, please, stay on, because being without you for any significant period of time would leave us huddled in the fetal position and sucking our thumbs while nervously awaiting the glorious return of your soothingly cool mechano-embrace.

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