Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Haunted Library

I work in a building that was built in 1939. As I mentioned in a previous post, it's a beautiful building. It does, however, have closed stacks that can be seriously creepy to work in. Not surprisingly, there have been rumors around for a long time that the library is haunted.

I'm a skeptic myself. The only person I've talked to who claimed to have seen something mysterious was a renovation worker who was running a jack hammer alone in the stacks at 2:00 a.m.; sounds to me like enough to make anyone hallucinate. Not that stacks aren't scary at time. Footsteps on the floor above sound disturbingly like they're on the floor you're on, which can lead to the feeling that someone invisible is walking towards, then through, you. It's also possible to be fairly close to someone else in the stacks, but not realize they're there because you can't see them.

If the library was haunted, though, I like to think that it would be a benevolent haunting. Maybe Cornelia Marvin, the first Oregon State Librarian, is still hanging around, making sure we're staying true to her vision for libraries in Oregon. Maybe a voracious reader from years past is attempting the impossible task for reading everything on our shelves. Maybe employees from long ago, with the insatiable curiosity that's common among library folks, are eagerly watching us adapt new technology.

Yes, I'm a skeptic, but I have no problem thinking that the library I work in is strengthened by all those who have gone before me - even if they're not still hanging out in the stacks.

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