Another Monday At The Public Library

Coming in the door as I unlocked it this morning, a man told me that there were yellow jackets near the entrance there on the second floor.  I told him I would pass it along, and returned to the desk for the opening rush of calls and walk-ups.  I tried calling T., who is normally in charge of getting some men to come and deal with something, but she was not there.  I tried a couple of other people in administration.  No answer.  The week before Labor Day, it seemed a lot of people were off.  I thought I would just see these yellow jackets for myself, and went outside.  There is a large planter there on the landing, and the plants in it had bloomed with little white flowers.  Bees were collecting nectar from the flowers.  Not a yellow jacket in sight.  I was glad I had not reported it.

A lot of requests for Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias by Jane Velez-Mitchell, about a woman whose trial for a shocking murder has been heavily covered on television.

Speaking of which, J., a regular caller, retired native of the Bronx, ("but don't tell anyone!"), and dedicated watcher of "court TV", phoned to find out the opening day for the new Tallahassee location of Whole Foods Market.  I would not have heard of Jodi Arias had not J. filled me in.  J. makes the rounds of natural foods stores, and often calls for more information on new construction in Tallahassee.  There are a lot of new chain restaurants being built here now.

A woman came in from Americorps, directed here by the Tallahassee Democrat.  She was looking for an employment ad they had run in August 2010 in the classifieds.  Unfortunately, our ProQuest archive of the Democrat does not include advertisements.  I set her up with the microfilm viewer.  After lunch she came back and said she had looked at August and July 2010, with no luck.  She had hoped to use the ad as a model for a new one, and was not sure what she wanted to do now.

Mr. L., the church and school supplies dealer, wanted a contact for the Tallahassee chapter of Woodmen of the World.  He had read that they were donating a U.S. flag and pole for the opening of a new city facility, and thought he might sell them a flag and pole.

Blind Man Who Cooks called, wanting a simple recipe for rice pudding, which I supplied from The Joy of Cooking.  I could hear his Braille machine clacking as I read it to him.  The basic recipe didn't include eggs, which he thought he remembered, so I gave him the "Swedish" variant, which did include eggs.

And so it goes, world without end, amen.


The Mental Traveler

In 1981 I bought a drum in Santa Fe at the crafts market.  It was a ceramic, doumbek drum with a goatskin head, made by hippies from Bisbee, Arizona.  I kept the drum for years, eventually selling it to a young woman who saw my notice on the community board at our food coop.

I wondered about those drummers from Bisbee.  What sort of place was Bisbee, that they would call it home?

I never heard of Bisbee again until I discovered Betsy Thornton's Chloe Newcombe mysteries.  They caught my attention because the second book in the series, High Lonesome Road, is about the murder of a bookmobile driver, and has a wonderful dust jacket illustration.  They are set in the fictional town of "Dudley", but it's obvious that it's really Bisbee.  Chloe Newcombe is a Victim Advocate for the Cochise County Attorney's Office, a position held in real life by the author.

In A Song For You, Thornton goes much deeper into the life of Bisbee than before:  its recent past as a haven for hippies and artists, and its makeover as an arty tourist destination.  You finish the book feeling you've lived there yourself for a little while.

I spent some time "Google Street-Viewing" around Bisbee, as I often do with books.  I found several murals near the Circle-K on Tombstone Canyon Road.  You can find better pictures of them by searching "Bisbee murals", but here are my Street-View snaps.


The Prisoner

My co-worker MK got a question on Ask-a-Librarian, our state-wide virtual reference service, about some photographs from the Florida Memory archive.  They were of a political rally in the black, Frenchtown section of Tallahassee in 1971, in support of Bill Johnson

"Free Bill Johnson, Political Prisoner" read the bumper stickers being handed out and displayed in some of the pictures, which were taken on July 31, 1971.  "Who was Bill Johnson?", MK's querent wanted to know.

MK asked me if it rang any bells  No, I had not come up to Tallahassee until 1974, and though I was somewhat politically active here then, I'd never heard of Bill Johnson.  But I had a feeling, which proved to be correct, that these photos might have been from the John Buckley Collection.

I can't say that John was a friend, but I knew him as I knew some other local leftists from the civil rights/anti-war days.  I remember listening to him hold forth at The Alley, a downtown watering hole.  I liked him because he thirsted for justice, but did not hew to any party line.

MK looked at our microfilm of the Tallahassee Democrat around the date, and I did too, but there was no coverage.  It is possible that the FSU student paper, The Florida Flambeau, covered the rally, but we don't have microfilm for it.

The Reverend C. K. Steele, who played a large part in the Tallahassee Bus Boycott, spoke.

The band, "Daddy Twofoot", performed.  

That looks like the old Red Bird Cafe on the left.  Not a great success, apparently.  But John Buckley was there.  And whatever happened to Bill Johnson?


New Circulation Desk

The Circulation Department is getting a new service desk.  Here is the old one, cleared off and ready for removal.

The counter-top at this check-out station has been worn through by years of use.

A temporary service desk has been set up over to the side during construction.  This is where the original desk was when the library opened in 1991.  It was replaced by the current desk a few years later.  I had left Circulation by then to run the bookmobile.

Here I am at that original desk, circa 1991-2, stamping due dates in books.  Note the Wyse text-mode terminals!  No Web, no GUI, no point & click.