Spoke too soon about St. Lawrence

I wrote a quick post, with affection I hoped was obvious, about how St. Lawrence branch was getting a quick paint job and a few repairs.

Wrong. They buggered the old girl.

I walked in and was shocked by two things: Full-on “express” checkout and the fact that the Bookmobile DVD I was carrying didn’t set off the alarm. I’m surprised they put in self-checkout, I told the librarian, because you sure don’t have the volume for it. She instantly gestured that I should be talking to the nearby much older librarian. I said the same thing. Eventually all 99 branches are going to have it, she said. 98, I said. 99, she said, reaching for the list of branches so I could – I gather – sit there with a pen and tally them all up. If you’re thinking about Urban Affairs, they closed that one, I told her.

The returns slot has a shitty piece of paper over it reading RETURNS in Arial that I’m sure will be there forever.


A librarian berated a lady in a scooter loudly in a Chinese accent – while walking smartly away from her – that that’s where returns go.

Magazines are hidden in a corner. Every shelf looks like every other shelf. Let’s not even talk about the shitty labelling of everything.

I decided to get the fuck out of there. I went through the inside door and looked for the automatic-door button. Gee, is it where I think it is? I went back: Yes, it’s still at shin level next to the giant barriers now erected at the door. Nobody who needs the automatic door will be able to position a scooter or wheelchair by the button, lean over to press it at a weird angle, back up, circle all around, and line up perfectly straight to wheel through the now gated and alarmed exit toward a door that will by then be closing right on their faces. (What if you’re in a walker?)

I tried talking about this to the old lady. “Have you considered repositioning—”

“The rug? No! The door? I don’t understand your question.”

“Because you aren’t letting me finish.”

I was then asked to write it down on a comment form or something to save her the trouble – as she admitted – of having to call Facilities. Are you not the branch head? I asked her.

During this whole visit, that librarian did no visible work and often simply leaned on her elbows talking to other patrons. This is the mentality “self”-checkout produces: Don’t disrupt my boredom by talking to me.

St. Lawrence: Number 2 with a bullet of worst RFID renovations after Yorkville.