It’s about 30 minutes before closing time and I don’t want to leave. That sounds insane, I know; but I just found the coolest item on the fourth floor. A few minutes ago, as I was shelving some scores, I caught a massive eye-sore in my peripheral. Whatever it was it looked over-sized and bulky and very indecisively brown—-a tragedy made more pronounced by some neighboring paperbacks, all shiny and pastel. Of course I had to give the thing the attention it demanded. Fortunately, my brain has never duped me more thoroughly than today. As luck would have it, there wasn’t any eye-sore to be found (unless you count the fake trees up here, but that’s a blog post for another time) just a gorgeous leather-bound Debussy score.
It sounds silly, but I’m finding myself invested in a small piece of history. This particular score was gifted twice: once to Max Chambers Library in 2005 and another time, long before, to a man named Clark. On the second page of the score is a handwritten note from someone in Paris in 1930. The score was a Christmas gift to the aforementioned Clark, and apparently a well-deserved one. “With greatest affection and deep gratitude,” reads the message. I just can’t shake the feeling that this small, cosmically insignificant collection of papers probably meant the world to someone. It’s days like these when I remember how much I love my job. People often say libraries are boring, but I have to disagree. Libraries are, by their very nature, a place for us to get in touch with ourselves. They are places for us to reflect on what has been and how that informs what is and what will be. The fact that I don’t read music, I know little to nothing about Debussy, and I couldn’t carry a tune if I tried means nothing when you consider that this score made me think. It brought a sense of interest and investment to a subject I would have otherwise never considered. It made me contemplate the connections in my own life. That’s what I love about libraries. And that’s what I love about Max Chambers.
I guess the point of all this is to say that being here in the library isn’t such a bad thing. The next time you have a little extra time to study, consider doing it here. You never know what you’ll find on a study break or how it might affect you. Oh, and for those of you who are interested, here’s a little Debussy for reference: