Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Just as each H-E-B differs from all the others, so does each branch of the Austin Public Library system. The library branches stock differing proportions of various kinds of books. Some are more literary than others. The Howson branch is for readers. Others seem to be Internet cafes more than libraries. At Cepeda and Terrazas, there are always people studying, working in pairs from textbooks. Some branches welcome magazine exchanges; some have no magazine exchanges; some try to regulate them (and those are the ones where one suspects that the employees cull the best for themselves). At some branches the clerks try to make you turn in your old library card that is temperamental about being scanned; at others, the clerks cheerfully enter the card number manually without remarking on it. Some branches are full of children. We visit every branch in the course of a year. These days, one of our quests is for movies from the Mexican golden age. I like the rural ones; K. enjoys the urban ones more.


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