Saturday, May 9, 2015

out librarying

Spent Friday visiting libraries, in some cases re-visits, to solve nits on the Tolkien bibliography. This required much driving around. I left UC Santa Cruz for UC Berkeley - 80 miles, one mountain range, and two congested urban areas, at 2:30, which turned out to be way too late. Had to circle around to avoid the congestion in Santa Cruz where several roads squeeze into one to become the freeway. At 4 pm I was stuck in heavy traffic still 30 miles from my destination.

This is where I started dodging logistical bullets. I thought, "I could take BART," the urban rail system. I could get to the station in ten minutes, the infamously-full parking lots would be starting to open up by now, and it'd get me to Berkeley in an hour.

Well, no. BART was suffering a systemic meltdown that day. After ten minutes of the electronic boards continually announcing that a Richmond train (the one I wanted) was due in 4 minutes, a train pulled in. It was going to Daly City (which the boards said wasn't due for 20 minutes). This was the wrong direction, but I got on anyway. Only long-standing knowledge of local geography enabled me to pull this off: I got off at West Oakland, switched back to a Pittsburg train on the opposite track (also the wrong direction), since that was what was arriving in profusion, got off at Rockridge, and took the bus to Berkeley. The bus worked fine.

I got to the library at 6 pm. I couldn't help feeling that, despite traffic, driving would have been faster. However, either way, I'd arrived after the privileges desk, which issues stack passes to the unaffiliated*, had closed for the day. The circulation desk had no authority to let me in. However, the staffers were willing to go fetch the one book I desperately needed, and let me use it at the desk. Bless you, kindly staffers.

Fortunately, also, I've learned to take a flash drive with me on university library visits. Photocopiers are on the way out. Scanners are in, darkly.

There wasn't enough time to get over to the City for the concert that evening, even if I had skipped dinner, so no review of the SF Conservatory's production of Albert Herring from me. So I stopped off at Top Dog for a lingui├ža (their best product) on the way back to BART. By this time the arrival announcements were just contradicting each other, like the parking announcers in Airport, but the trains were running normally.

*Yes, I could join the alumni association and get stack privileges that way. But that's the only thing the alumni association offers that I'd want, and I've never had trouble getting access from the privileges desk.

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