Monday, April 14, 2008

The ACK Stacks

The main library (Thompson) on the Ohio State University campus has been closed for over a year for remodeling. Hard hat tours are now available to see its 1970s and 1980s cocoon of bastard designs and add-ons removed to reveal the original butterfly of the early 20th century. I'm sure it will be lovely, similar to when I first saw it in 1967. But that means many OSU students will never be in the library--not Thompson, and not the temporary one on Ackerman Road (they have to take a bus). I really enjoy the temp facility--it is close to my home, the parking is great, and I usually have the whole place to myself, because I think students have forgotten about it. The books are easy to find and the people aren't. OSCAR, the online catalog, is now pretty subservient to a behemoth that brings up everything in WorldCat and OhioLink when you do a search, with OSU as just one of the locations. So you need to learn how to limit and do advance searches or you'll be overwhelmed with books located in Atlanta and New York, and smidgens in articles and microfiche--maybe 350 matches when you were expecting 10. It's like walking down the snack aisle of a major supermarket looking for plain old Ritz crackers.

The ACK Stacks

Near the railroad tracks
on Ackerman Road
are the ACK Stacks
tucked away for me,
the vast collection
of the OSU library.

Foreign and Esoteric,
Religious and Oversize,
it’s hard for me to stick
to the task at hand.
Now other libraries
seem so bland.

A mile or two away
lies OSU main campus.
Some librarians say
a generation or so
of students and grads
to the library never go.

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