Do You Smell What CPL Is Cooking?

June 10, 2010 at 2:56 am Leave a comment

Do you?

And wait, what’s this you say?  The Cambridge Public Library Main Library smells?

Sure it does!  That yummy library smell: new shelves, new floors, new books, new tables and chairs, new tiles in the restrooms, new everything.  Old, oiled wood paneling.  Sky-high ceilings and light pouring in.  Teens strolling past, fresh faced, wearing too much cologne.  All together smelling fancier than a new car.

Why all this talk about smell?

Well, way back when I first started this blog, I wrote a review of CPL’s main branch when it was housed temporarily in the Longfellow School at 359 Broadway.  In addition to other comments, I complained that the gym I sat in to do work smelled a little funky.  It so happened that library staff persons read that blog post.  They were dismayed.  I was dismayed that they were dismayed.


It’s true.  At first, I didn’t know how to respond.  Should I re-write the post? Delete it?  Defend it?  Pretend it never happened.  Slowly, I realized that the best response was to rethink my blog’s focus.  Why was I writing it?  What were my intentions?  I am no expert, after all, not a librarian, not an architect, not journalist, not a social anthropologist. And as the CPL staff person who responded to my original post said, the cookies of a good library should not be judged by that funny burning smell.

Okay.  So what are you?  Show us your credentials.

I’m a patron.  A fan.  “Superfan”?  The library’s love child.  The naughty daughter.

Why should we care what you think?  Maybe we think you smell, huh?

Maybe I do.

Maybe you shouldn’t care!  Anyway, I’d rather you join me.  We’ll scope out the nooks and windows.  We’ll peer through my lens at organization and categorization, missing busts and weird things in the corners.  We sneak into the YA room (my personal favorite) and pretend we’re not too old to be haunting the stacks, loading up on manga that we don’t quite get.  We’ll blabber and blunder and pontificate and appreciate.  In the end, we will celebrate this most incredible resource.

Now that you mention it, scents and sights aside, I do love a good library.

Me, too.


Entry filed under: Cambridge.

Lights on Beverly Library Bibliotheque publique d’information

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