Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Library Full of Characters

And I'm not speaking about the characters in a book.

Our local teeny branch library invited me to be a guest during the 100 year celebration of the first county library, and bring my books. Of course I agreed. This library is on the grounds of what once was a huge TB sanitarium which has since been turned into apartments for low income folks. Of course the library is a popular place for the residents as it's within walking distance--very few have their own transportation, though many of them do have electric scooters or golf carts to use to get around our small town.

When I first arrived, a homeless man came in with a huge back pack that held his sleeping bag, rolled up foam pad, all sorts of clothes and other bags hanging from the frame of the pack. He placed his belongings on a chair at a table across from my table, and spent most of the rest of the time sitting on the floor at the back of one of the stacks.

All sorts of folks came into the library from all walks of life. Many, of course, came from the nearby apartments, some with obvious mental problems, others just elderly and anxious for some conversation. The cookies and punch were quite a draw too.

Also a lot of moms with kids arrived, including a young woman who'd once been in a writing class of mine and is now attending a children's book authors' critique group.

A fellow spent a good deal of time talking to me about the three murders we've had in Springville and a book, Lucifer's Hammer, whose setting is actually Springville. On his way out, he snagged a paperback, stuck it under his shirt and zipped out the door.

Another man, the father of two delightful teens who came to use the two computers in the library, sat beside me for a long while telling me about murders that happened near him and at his workplace when he worked in Southern California.

One of the young women who attends my church, dropped by and visited for a few minutes. She was babysitting some young boys and brought them up to the library to keep them busy.

A sixth grader I teach in Sunday School came back to see me and my books and seemed quite surprised that I have another life.

And two lovely older (but younger than I am) women I know slightly who came to check out books, paused long enough to visit for awhile.

There were several folks who talked to themselves, a few who looked as though they needed someone to help them dress, and one fellow who kept hitching up his pants just in time.

The more I think about it, this would make a terrific setting for another murder in Springville. The poor fellow hunkered down at the back of the stacks would make a good victim. But the librarian would have to be a less diligent soul since she checked on this man quite often, bringing him cookies and punch, and asking him if he was okay.

Where have you seen a collection of unusual characters?



Mary said...

Believe it or not -- church. The biggest mixture of stories and personalities ever!

Giggles and Guns

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What an odd collection!
I love to people watch at our local minor-league baseball stadium. Now that is a collection of characters!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

We have an interesting group of folks at church too, but I love them all.