9:55 Florida Agricultural & Mechanical College, (FAMU), Tallahassee's Historically Black College or University, (HBCU), is having its homecoming day today, with a parade this morning, and a football game this afternoon at 3:00. This is a huge deal here. Unlike Florida State's homecoming, FAMU's homecoming means party time for the entire black community, for whom FAMU is a badge of pride.
10:00 Doors open. The parade goes from Frenchtown, the old black quarter of town to the north, east to Monroe Street, our "main street", and through downtown to the south side, so that two sides of an imaginary box enclosing the city center are closed to traffic.
I opted this year to try a run around to the south, crossing South Monroe on Oakland and turning up Adams to Gaines. I headed west on Gaines, easing my Vespa around crowds of orange-clad FAMU bandsmen and blue-uniformed teens from Lincoln High. Turning north on MLK Boulevard, the way was clear. As I parked, drums throbbed and horns blasted in the distance.
Here's Mark, coming in to do the Saturday courier run to the branches. He goggles at me and Marcia, "You wouldn't believe what I just went through!" He evidently didn't see the e-mail about the street closings. We commiserate, and trade getting-to-the-library-on-FAMU-homecoming stories.
Of course its almost completely dead now, at 10:25. Other than pedestrians, no one can get here.
PC's for a bunch of assorted kids. I indulge them, seating them next to their friends.
Here's agonistic Laverne, making her own computer reservation, thank God, now that she has a library card.
10:40 US Daughters of 1812 are here to use the 2nd floor conference room, a "daughters of" group I haven't heard of. Hmmm... They are the Tallahassee "Treaty of Ghent" Chapter.
Here is another Daughter, asking directions, with a ribboned medal on her chest. "Work of the Society includes ... providing reading materials to the American Merchant Marine Library Association (AMMLA) which was created to meet the demands of the men in our Merchant Marine for reading matter by providing an exchange Library Service to American ships." Well well. They are in our line of work, then.
PC's for Demetrius, Chumesia, Laqueshia, Monica.
Shush kids. Demetrius's PC hung at sign-in, restart.
11:05 Phone: Mr. Little needs addresses for corporate HQ's of Taco Ball, Subway and Home Depot. He's not hearing too well this morning. A lot of work to give him the info.
Phone: Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando by Richard E. Foglesong. Hold for James.
Aforementioned bunch of kids want another session. Sorry, I say, not without a library card.
Phone: Early voting still happening at Ft. Braden branch? Yes, through 6 pm today.
Woman needs dictionary of American regional English. Take to shelf.
James picks up Disney book.
11:50 Man's been e-mailing us from Perry. He needs our microfilm viewer to print out pages of electronics manuals on microfiche. No one in Perry has one, not even the library. Now he wants to know where he can buy silk screen fabric off the roll here. I've been calling around. Jo-Ann Fabrics said no. Michael's Arts & Crafts said no. Utrecht Art Supply Store, (formerly Bill's Art City) has pre-stretched screens, 18x24", but no rolls.
Paul wants a black pen.
Woman at PC w headphones chuckles.
Lindsay, our volunteer, comes up off the stairs. Lunchtime!
12:48 PC for Marvin.
USA Today Man asks about OverDrive audio book download station. What is audio book? Is it where someone reads it out loud? Yes. Do we have a scanner? No. Why not? Don't know.
WSJ comes back,
Phone: Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken. Hold for Jim at desk.
PC for Toni.
E-mail from MD in Youth Services: anyone seen Marvel Comics Encyclopedia, in transit for a hold since May? Don't see it, and it's a big book, would be hard to miss.
Mom & daughter need books on sex education as a social issue. Find then a couple of books, show Opposing Viewpoints db, which is excellent on this topic.
2:06 At satellite ref station on floor. Finished putting Stuart Woods "overstock" in storage up high over the magazine shelves. This completes my "downsizing" of bestsellers in Fiction.
Have to make a poster for my display, which I am calling "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road", a shameless rip-off of the song by Lucinda Williams. Stories about rural and small town life. Real places with hard times and not-always-happy endings. The dark side of "Mitford".
[Edit: it's not really fair to myself to call it a shameless rip-off. I thought of the song first, then wondered if I could put together some titles that would tell stories like the ones on that great album. It's really more of a tribute.]
Phone: Mr. Little checking a detail on an address I gave him.
Looking for image for display poster. Looking for something "small town", but with hint of modernity to ward off sentimentality. Found good one of Cross City metal building-like City Hall w American flag, palms, water tower.
2:54 Smoke break, down to get my reserves, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and Provinces of Night by William Gay, (the latter for my display).
Help woman find Morning's Refrain by Tracy Peterson. Just returned, on new books cart in the check-in room.
She says they say she has an overdue book, Bobbi Brown Beauty, which she's sure she returned in June, will I help her check the shelf? We find it. Give it to her to have Circulation clear it. The book must have worked, I get a beautiful smile from her.
3:13 L. is gone, 1¾ hours to go.
The Smile returns. Now she needs The Crucible by Arthur Miller, probably the reason she came.
3:30 Very quiet. The FAMU game started at 3:00.
Marcia sees my copy of Freedom. We talk books. She says she read the IMPAC Dublin award winner for this year, The Twin by Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker, and also Blindness of the Heart by Julia Franck, said to have been a sensation in Germany, winner of the German Book Prize. Oh that Marcia, so highbrow!
Couple of women looking for Consumer Reports.
Man wants to know what "M" keys on a calculator do. Try searching, but end up printing out a help topic on them for him from the Microsoft calculator.
PC for Rakim.
4:29 Phone: It's the Chattahoochee guy. Does it snow in Cape Town, S.A.? No, but it does in the mtns. to the west. Are there penguins at the Cape of Good Hope? Yes.
4:45 15 min. announcement. Time to call it a day.