Booklover's Dream

One night recently I went down to the university library in Portland hoping to find some recent journal articles that I couldn’t locate on the Web. I arrived about 7 pm. The place seemed empty.

I went down to the basement to locate the first journal. I had been misinformed. The library didn't have it. Most of the lights were out. It seemed very dark. I thought there had been a power outage or an electrical problem.

I hiked up to the fifth floor to find the next journal. The volume I wanted was missing. The lights were out up there, as well. Down to the second floor for the last one. It wasn't on the shelf either. But I found another with an interesting report.

Down to the first floor to copy it. No. The copy room was closed. Eventually I realized that the entire library was closed. It had been closed all the while I was there.

They were about to lock up the place, so I managed to get out. Yet, how delightful, I thought, to be locked up in the library with all those books and journals all night.

I was reminded of all this by a recent report about a US tourist who was locked inside a Waterstones bookstore in London one night. While that also sounds like a lark, it didn’t seem that way to the American tourist.

Unlike my experience, he had his digital arsenal with him and began tweeting his dilemma on Twitter. A little after 10, he posted a photo of the shuttered door, along with a message that he was trapped inside. He wrote:

“This is me locked inside a Waterstones bookstore in London. I was upstairs for 15 minutes and came down to all the outs out and door locked. Been here over an hour now.”

At about 11 he tweeted another message that he had not been released. It was after midnight that he wrote that he had finally been released. This was confirmed on Waterstones Twitter feed.

Being locked in a library or bookstore for a night might seem like a booklover's dream, assuming of course that was enough light to read and soft carpet to sleep. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I think it would be a lot of fun.

Apparently so did many others who had tweeted that the US tourist’s situation was a dream, with one saying, “I would kill to be locked up in a bookstore.” Waterstones decided to capitalize on the clamor by organizing a sleepover at its Piccadilly store. From hundreds of applicants, they chose 19 “guests” to spend the night locked up in the bookstore.

Most planned to browse, read and eventually get some sleep. The Guardian (10/25/14) reported: “…the lights were dimmed. It was time to do what they all came here for. Books were read, chess was played, tweets were sent and quiet conversations had until the early hours.”