Tuesday, August 31, 2010

my winter lungs

Hand at head, eyes downcast pretty much sums me up right now. My library keeps recalling the books I am right in the middle of and nowhere near being finished with which means that I have been motionless save for my hand turning the page for the past couple of days. 

Last week I got an email saying that the university in Norway that sent out a PhD thesis upon my request needed it back. So I took it into the library, desperation leaking out of every pore as the librarian asked if I had got everything I needed out of it.'No. . .?' 
Could I borrow it from elsewhere? (It's an unpublished manuscript, so that's a no.) 
Had I photocopied it? (It's about 380 pages long- and all one sided- so, again, no.)
'You know,' she said, leaning forward confidentially. 'When we send you the recall notice on document delivered items like this, it only means that the original lender wants it back. You don't actually get fined if you take your time getting it back to us.' 
I stood stock still, ears pricked. 'So. . .  could I take it back home for a couple more days before you scan it back in?' Lightning fast she grasped the book as if I was about to launch myself at the counter and wrestle it from her arms. 'No, now you've given it back we have to keep it. But you should wait a few weeks then request it again.' Dear reader, it took four months of waiting to get it the first time! Cue much gnashing of teeth.

Would you believe it, only days later, I got another email. O yes. And so, Mr. Michael Warner, and your most excellent theories on publics and counterpublics, we have reached an impasse. Do we want to go into hiding from the good librarians at Sydney University, subsisting only on the energy your theories give my ideas? Do we want to say 'hang it!' to the fines which will accrue with lightning speed and which I will drag my feet for three years about paying (and I am notoriously good at racking up late fees. $60 at my local library in high school was my personal best)? Or shall we wring our hands and say a tearful goodbye tomorrow, as I desperately skim read the last four chapters and inwardly mutter curses at the other student who had the impudence to request you mere days after I hired you? (MERE DAYS!!!! Cue more teeth gnashing.)

Wish me luck, blogosphere. Hereafter I will either be a fugitive on the run with a stolen book or a broken woman, bereft and bitter.

Image of Louise Brooks from Google (thanks Google! You're the best.)


  1. Rosie you should track down and email the guy who wrote it and he will probably send you a digital copy!

  2. Whoa, seriously?! Thanks for the tip Belinda! (ps. how ARE you? Doing ok down there in Canberra?)

  3. I understand your pain. I am a usyd borrower with no recall priveleges and are at their beck and call. I have to traipse out there this week to give away my essential research to some pip squeak 1st year who I assume has a list of 50 books but decides that he/she might just need my book, just in case he/she decides to use it in their 1,500 word paper which they will find harder than anything they've yet done in high school - and while said 1st year student topped English in year 12, they will be lucky to get a pass, let alone a credit for it. Of the last 4 books that I returned after recall, only one was picked up by the recaller. Scandalous!!!