Wednesday, November 21, 2018


There was a string of them as I sat watching at the front desk of my library: The woman with a small suitcase dragging on tiny clattering wheels behind her, the man pushing one of our shopping carts that he had filled with seat cushions, and the family troop working out of two epic sized double strollers that looked prepared for an invasion of Czarist Russia.

It was then that it hit me:

Our library patrons may have millions of dollars. They may have loving families and beautiful homes. They may work complicated and fulfilling jobs and lead eminently productive, responsible, and successful lives. But the moment they walk in through our doors, the moment any person steps foot into our library, they are instantly transmuted, by some strange alchemy, into homeless people. They have nowhere else to go. They have nothing but what they brought. They exist on their instincts alone. They scavenge from whatever random spaces and things that are commonly available. Money is meaningless and so is history. There is no hierarchy. Everything they have built in their life is now as nothing.

Somehow, simply, they must survive here, get what they can and get what they need, all on their wit and craft alone.

No Kings, no boss, nor CFO, no Lords, Doctors, or Ms. Vice Presidents. No titles, class, rank, or advantage.

The library patron: 

All street people, living rough.


  1. Still enjoying your thoughts on libraries and the creatures that haunt them. Yes, still here.

    1. I'm usually pretty up on the comments in clerkmanifesto, but somehow I completely missed these and just stumbled on them now! I'm glad you are (still) enjoying my thoughts, and that you kindly thought to say.

  2. PS When I was 17 I married a soldier who was posted in Holland. At the tiny base was a stack of paper back books that I raided because I had nothing to do when my husband went on his frequent and mysterious out-of-town assignments.

    It turned out all of the books were either Mickey Spillane or Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series. Hated Mike Hammer but fell in love with Archie who kept me company on all the long, lonely nights in a foreign country. [Read one of the sidebar items.]


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