Those Days and Friday Nights at the Presidential Libraries
I am a people person and enjoy my work as a librarian at a public library. But working with the public has its frustrations and challenges too. It could be one of those days. One of those days when someone has spilled sticky soda on the carpet and ground popcorn into it for special effect. One of those days when the printer keeps jamming and someone has messed-up the restroom. One of those days when I have had a plethora of reference questions that consist of looking up phone numbers in the yellow pages to the point where I feel like a Bell Telephone operator in the old monopoly days. On those days, I daydream about working in an archive. Ah, the quietude and acid-free cardboard boxes and papers custom-made to fit! Oh, the clean white gloves to handle the very important papers, films and memorabilia of very important people! The pure intellectual stimulation of historical artifacts and events.
Now I get my archival fix on Friday nights with C-Span's Presidential Libraries Uncovered from 8P -- 10P (LIVE) done in cooperation with the National Archives. Last week I watched the episode on Herbert Hoover's Library. Tonight it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Library in New Hyde Park. I saw Albert Einstein's letter to FDR warning him about the dangers of Germany's experiments with uranium which led to the Manhattan Project, and Eleanor Roosevelt's resignation letter to the DAR when they barred the renowned singer Marian Anderson from using Constitution Hall because she was African-American, and listened to the radio broadcasts of FDR's fireside chats and secret oval office recordings, and much more. I thoroughly enjoyed my presidential library evening all snuggled on my big, yellow comfy couch with a bowl of chocolate ice cream and hot fudge sauce while briefly chatting on the phone with a friend...
Chocolate ice cream is probably not allowed in an archive. Nor is it likely that chatting on the phone is allowed either. On the other hand, I have seen chocolate ice cream at my public library's programs and chatting on the phone, quietly and politely, is generally allowed.
I guess watching C-Span's Presidential Libraries Uncovered on television is a little bit like having the best of both worlds.