Saturday, May 26, 2007

Two good things about this breakup---I've been going out all night with friends and getting the chance to act VERY immature (apparently, guys in bars like to be groped by drunk women. Who knew?). The second is that I've been getting tons more work done. Here is a piece I just wrote for the new issue of 360 newspaper. It's just a bit for one of those "Stuff that bugs me" columns, but I'm quite proud of it.

What Part of Shhhh! Don’t You Understand?

By Andie Ryan

As a freelance writer, I spend a lot of time in public libraries, researching story ideas and browsing newspaper archives on microfiche machines (yes, they still exist). I also frequently have my laptop in tow and, occasionally, I am able to find a quiet corner in the library to hunker down and do some writing.

Notice that I said “occasionally.”

It seems that the libraries of my youth, where silence was expected—and enforced—have gone the way of disco music (and I’m only 33). Over the last twenty years, libraries have become considerably noisier, and I find that the librarians and check-out clerks tend to look the other way. It is apparently now acceptable for young children to run rampant through the stacks, howling to one another and braying at their parents. The adult patrons are oftentimes just as bad, yakking away on cell phones and having loud conversations with one another, oblivious to the reproachful looks coming from those of us who are there to study, read, or even just surf the internet in peace.

This makes me sad, because I really love libraries. For me, as a writer and avid reader, it’s my version of church. Although I’m not a religious person, I see libraries as sacred and deserving of respect, reverence, and—most of all—silence.

So think of this the next time you visit your local library. And please, shut up!

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