Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Snatch This Pebble From My Hand



So Cookie finds himself, and The Husband, in Los Angeles this week on a vacation/research trip that is equal parts both.  The husband humors Cookie's genealogy obsession, and Cookie in turn honors the Husband's desire to walk around gardens, famous and otherwise.  Together, we are a very easy going pair.

So Today, Cookie will trudge through the Huntington Library and Gardens, because the husband gave eight hours of effort towards Cookie's research on Wednesday.  It's a fair trade.

Yesterday, we were guests of the Los Angeles Public Library pouring over a private collection.  The visit was arranged months ago.

This leads me to mention an odd thing about the LA Public Library, Central Division.  They have a rare books and manuscript division.   But you wouldn't know it if you asked the librarians there.

My first visit to the department came in 1990s, about five years after the big fire.   I wanted to access the department because it held several one of a kind items I needed to look at for a project I was working on.  The man I was directed to, "Tom" actually refused to acknowledge that the items were in the collection.  "There is nothing in the collection that are not already in the authors published works.  I persisted - I wanted to see his notes, because as we all know, the notes hold the key to the methodology.

When I arrived at the library for the visit back then, I arrived, and I asked for directions to the rare book and manuscript division.

"I can't tell you where it is."

I explained that I had an appointment.  The person asked to see my ID and left the desk, made a call, came back and said, please wait here.  A man came and I was escorted to the department.  Score one for Cookie.

In 2012, we made the trip here again, and on a visit to the library, I asked again, preface it by saying "I don't have an appointment, and I know that one is needed, but isn't the rare books division around here?"

You would have thought that I had just asked to see Satan.  Her eyes got large as saucers and she defensively said "I can't tell you that."

Excuse me?

"You can't go there."  I explained I had no such intention.   I again asked if the division was nearby, and again I got a "You can't go there."  I again explained that I just wanted to get my bearings.  "I can't tell you."

And in 2013, we played this game AGAIN.

"I can't tell you that information."

This time I came prepared: "It's on the Third Floor of the Goodhue Building, isn't it?"

She was stunned.  Shocked, even!  "I can't confirm that."

Seriously?  Even though its on your web site, you can't confirm it.  Really?

At least in Kung Fu, the kid got a pebble for his trouble.

17 comments:

  1. i've friends who work at that library.

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    1. Can you ask them what is with that game?

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    2. WTF??? As a librarian, I am ashamed! Norma I'm curious as to what's afoot as well. Please share.

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  2. I think in Harry Potter it was somewhere on Diagon Alley.

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  3. You should have pretended to be a psychic and then told her she was in imminent danger of death from falling books.

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    1. It's Los Angeles, so falling books and earthquakes are a given.

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  4. What the Hell do they have in there? The Necronomicon? Aliens?

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    1. Some celebrity "autobiographies", some scripts from "Life With Lucy", and probably the manuscript of "50 Shades of Grey" - that should explain why the librarians tell you "You can't go there". Jx

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    2. The Ark of Covenent. The secret is out.

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  5. What library had the rare books section that systematically had rare prints cut out of their books? I remember reading about it in the news. Some old guy came in, asked for books like the Audubon Bird book and then used a knife to remove pages!!! It was discovered he was then selling them at galleries. They did end up catching the guy and the libraries very LAX process of observation was brought under scrutiny. Like apparently they handed over very rare books and then left people alone in the room with them.

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    1. That sounds like a nightmare. Ohio State has a problem 30 years ago with someone going through its collections on British Royal Family and slicing out all of the pictures of Queen Victoria and her children. Rumor had it that someone in town was claiming to be a descendent who felt that they had more of a right to the pictures because they were family, not royals.

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  6. Replies
    1. I had never thought of it, but it makes sense.

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  7. Replies
    1. Isn't it? Its a freaking library, not Skull and Bones, right?

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  8. They have forgotten who pays their salary, the tax payers, and the government, both state and feds. Someone needs to remind them of that fact!

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