Last night I dreamt about a vast library. Oddly enough the dream was set in New Salem, North Dakota, a town Studly Doright and I, along with our two children, lived in briefly during the early 90’s. I don’t remember the town of fewer than 1,000 souls having a library other than the ones at the town’s public schools; although, a quick google search shows there is a small one.
In my dream, the New Salem library was housed in a modern log cabin with soaring beamed ceilings and shelves that required ladders at least 20 feet tall to reach the top rows. The aisles extended so far in every direction that one could not see the far walls from the library’s center.
During my dream visit, members of the library guild were hosting a membership drive. In every nook and cranny of the building there was some vignette set up–a play or live music or just a visual display–enticing visitors to join. For some reason oversized boxes of Kleenex tissues were stacked decoratively in key places, as an overarching theme for the event.
I desperately wanted to become a member of the library guild. I wanted to be part of this grand building with boxes of tissues stacked in the shape of the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building. But when I finally found a guild member and completed the necessary paperwork I realized I didn’t have the amount of cash on hand to pay the $94.00 joining fee, and the guild didn’t accept credit cards.
Frantically I began working odd jobs within the library itself in order to raise the money. I carried patrons’ books for a quarter. I shined shoes and moved the card catalogues. I stacked tissue boxes. After what seemed like many hours had passed I realized that I had raised $93.95, and I had one nickel in my pocket. I eagerly handed over the money to the nearest guild member, and abruptly awakened to the sounds of Studly Doright brushing his teeth.
Since I didn’t receive my receipt am I a member of the New Salem Public Library Guild or not? Seriously.