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The other day, I witnessed a mother sitting next to one of our Internet terminals breastfeeding her infant. At first, I was stunned, probably because I have only seen this performed once, but another thought entered my mind at this odd moment: Is this woman in violation of our “anti-naked” Internet policies? This led me to think that she should be breastfeeding her kid in the stacks, preferably in the section on breastfeeding (should she have any questions or problems, she could just pick up a book).Remembering last weeks essay about chat rooms in libraries, I then had one of my rare strokes of genius. The library can be used as a dating service...with each prospective bachelor or bachelorette standing near the section that best describes him or her. For example, if you love Italian cooking, go to 641.5945 and meet the person of your dreams. Do you like men who like to travel to Europe? Well, go to 914.04 and see who is there.
I know most of you must be thinking, “Hey bucko, there are many qualities that I need in a mate, not just one.” Well, my friends, that is what the card catalogue is for. My OPAC has a keyword search. Every person will have a bibliographic-type record entered in the database before they muddle about in the stacks. Potential dates can search through the card catalog by key word. Try this on for size: baseball AND movies AND (“long walks” OR drives) AND child*. This person is looking for someone who likes baseball, movies, long walks or drives and has at least one child (notice the truncation). The person then given the Dewey number and off they go.
It does not stop there folks. If they can’t find someone that fits their tastes (he or she may be checked out), they just search the county or state catalog (what the heck, lets get OCLC involved), and an inter-library loan will be provided. For those who do not like long distance relationships, I would advise only to look for someone within a radius that is comfortable.
Onto the checkout line. When a match is found, go to the circulation desk, present your library card (making sure you do not have anything overdue), and the one chosen will be checked out to you for 3 weeks. For those not satisfied, just bring him or her back within the allotted time, and there will be no overdue fines. If you are not sure if this person is for you, renew if necessary. If you choose to keep your selection, you may not use the library again, because you have chosen not to return your material, but you have gotten a mate for life.