Monday, December 18, 2023

Library smells


I mean, yes, the library does smell. But I was thinking of a little bit wider discussion about library smells.

Although that wider discussion is sort of about how the library smells.

So I guess I kind of nailed today's title.

Lately, I have found that the library smells of a particular kind of rancidity I associate with things rotting, particularly unclean people, and the work of custodial people who clean the whole, huge library with barely soapy water that they never change once in a full eight-hour shift.

Also, our library patrons, some of whom live rough, even if it's in their own houses, are capable of unleashing some intense odors. Someone just walked by me and the wafting aroma of old urine drifted out to me.

And I'll admit, I am not the most perfectly fastidious person ever. I am no paragon of fresh scents. But I shower every few days whether I need it or not and I sometimes even instigate the doing of laundry at my house. 

So I think this is enough to justify my speaking out.

It smells around here.

But there is something...

Every once in awhile, in some small area of the library, right now it's in a corner of the bookstore, it smells like strawberries. It's probably just a scratch and sniff Strawberry Shortcake book, or one of our old bookmarks, but it smells like strawberries. How authentic is it? Authentic enough!

And so I drift over to the strawberry smell wherever I find it and whenever I can. 

Like the glow of a candle in an endless cave, or a tiny thermal vent rising mysteriously out of the Arctic permafrost in Winter, it is a relief, and, huddled desperately around it, for a moment, there is life.

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