I keep remembering this one day in the library…

… because I just read that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died.

I was in high school, I went up to the Portland State University library to do some work and really couldn’t get into/ didn’t want to do the work I had gone there to do.  Instead of doing the obvious thing, which would have been leaving the library and going into the city since I was from Canby and it was a school day and I was not at school but in Portland, I picked One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich up off a reshelving cart and started to look through it.  Two and a half hours later, I was done and you know even though I still had the work to do, and even though I could have read that book in Canby, I never felt like I wasted that day

So this is a library experience that’s not about me being a librarian, and it’s not about how I think libraries should be.  Plus it’s a library experience that might not resonate in its specifics to people younger than me. It was the 80’s, there was a Cold War, reading Solzhenitsyn probably doesn’t feel the same now as it did then.

It’s a library experience that’s just about libraries – that they are and that these spaces that put people together with ideas exist.

One thought on “I keep remembering this one day in the library…

  1. I was just looking at some pictures of his funeral. Two things come to mind:

    1. I read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich shortly after reading Journey into the Whirlwind and it had me briefly considering the wisdom of becoming a Soviet-obsessed historian

    2. I don’t think I can recall seeing such clear images of famous dead Americans

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