Thursday, February 21, 2008

Retro vs Techie

I love lots of the new "techie stuff" and many sisters have taken to them, also: cell phones, computer games, memory sticks, IPods, some have even played Wii games.

But there's something great about things that are now called "retro," too. One example is evident in the Mount library right now. Because of new carpeting, our library is being upended this week: all the books are being taken off the shelves, boxed and moved, along with the tall shelves and other furniture, to the east side of the room so that the new flooring can be laid. Then everything will be moved back to the west side while the carpet continues through the room. Do you remember learning, somewhere along the way, how to put new sheets on a bed while the person remains in the bed? Well, it kinda reminds me of that!

But here's the unique retro part I love: the card catalogue. It's one of those real original wooden ones... it sits about 5 feet high, with maybe 24 or 30 of those thin long drawers in which those 3x5 cards fit perfectly. And each drawer has one of those long rods that fits in from the front, gliding along a thin rail, working its way through the punched hole at the bottom of each card. Sometimes I pull a rod out just for the fun of it and then try to fit it back in, making it through all the cards' holes along the entire length. What a mess if you knock anything off line!

Our library is beautiful. The entire east wall is windows, and half of the north and south walls are, too...giving a gorgeous view of the gardens between the two residence wings. It has a great selection of books, magazines, and, of course, special sections on monasticism, peace and justice, and women. Many of our guests spend hours there, browsing or reading or working at one of the tables.

Oh, and what's right across the room from the card catalogue? Another row of long thin things: books on CDs. And right next to those: a computer with email and internet access.

All the techie and retro things seem to coexist peacefully...and quietly.