First things first: I've always loved the library. Now that I'm out of college, my mind is no longer granted the privilege of engaging in stimulating class lectures, so I read more than ever before. I love to read. Always have. I'm also one of those creeps who likes the musty smell of an old, scribbled-up library book. I love its tattered binding; its underlined text; its high-lighted paragraphs; its dog-eared pages. The works. I also love the peace and quiet that I'm offered, free of charge, at the library. I can actually hear myself think in there. And I willingly surrender my iPod and cell phone for the entire duration of each visit that I pay to this most tranquil of public establishments. I simply allow myself to drown in reading.
Lately, I've somewhat neglected the library that I grew up next to, less than a quarter of a mile away from my childhood home. But I had some movies on reserve for pick-up there, so the pressure of paying an overdue visit to this old friend of mine was relieved today. However, upon arrival, I was greeted with the most offensive of renovation sights: a brand-spanking new circulation desk, shiny green marble and all, with none other than SELF check-out machines! What the HELL?!
I did not like this augmentation to my perfectly fine childhood library - did not like it one bit. Where were all the librarians, necks adorned with over-sized pearls, cat-like spectacles drooping down their long, pointy noses, red lipstick smeared on the outer edge of their Styrofoam coffee cups? Why weren't they still in charge? And why did some genius come up with the brilliant idea, during these hard economic times, to replace the jobs of hard-working women with ungrateful machines that can't even utter a "thank-you" once you've employed them?
A machine can't tell me, "Oh, if you like this book, you'll certainly like...blah blah blah." A machine can't remind me, "Don't forget - your book is due March 3rd, next Wednesday!" A machine won't warmly conclude our twenty-second interaction together with the sweet sincerity of a "Good-bye, have a nice day!" comment. Self check-out machines are still just machines - unfriendly, unfeeling and, in my opinion, unnecessary at this particular institution.
And I foolishly thought that this self check-out madness would end at the grocery stores. Nope. The machines are back to haunt us, slowly taking over, making me question whether or not John Connor's services will actually be needed in the near future.