Z39.50

On a rainy day, I’m at a cataloging class at the state library. Through the open window, rain pours from the roof. I admire the library world for its insistence on precision and order, its intensely democratic approach, the unapologetic quest for knowledge and creativity.

In Vermont, numerous tiny one-woman libraries like my own hold the same democratic importance as the large city libraries. Such a complicated network laces this system together — like Z39.50, the mysterious (for me) way library systems speak to each other and exchange information.

Later in the morning, the rain stills. Through the open window, robin sing. The teacher pauses, says, Spring’s here, and waits for just a moment, a subtle acknowledgment of the beauty of communication.

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.

— Albert Einstein

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

2 comments

  1. I enjoy nearly all your posts. They provide a fine connection. But this quote from Einstein, which I’ve not heard before, absolutely makes my day. Thank you.

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