I just arrived back home in Syracuse after driving down to Texas and back to visit my parents. As my boyfriend and I were slowly progressing through Virginia, we were keeping an eye out on those highway signs that tell you what gas stations, lodging, and restaurants are near the next exit, hoping for a Chick-Fil-A, southern-born fast food home to a tasty fried chicken sandwich (and non-existent in New York). After many, many miles of still not seeing one and fearing that the franchises has run out in south Virginia, I started to ponder how we could figure out where the next one would be.
If only one of us had a smart phone, I started, but even the hypothetical data plan price rates made me move on. Of course we had our laptops with us, but they’re no good if there’s no wifi around. The idea struck me that if only we knew how to get to a library, we’d be all set. It then occurred to me that I couldn’t think of many libraries located near an interstate, though of course if they were there, I wouldn’t know, would I? The OCPL Beauchamp branch is within a mile of I-81 through Syracuse; not that you’d know just passing through. Visitors’ centers located near the borders of states get signage, of course, but they aren’t around the mid-state areas. If only those library road signs could be expanded to the exit notifications…!
Or to get very ambitious, just think of an interstate library system. You finish your audio/book early on a long car ride and need diversion? Pull off and check one out. Need to know where the next XYZ is, or what’s neat in the area, or where the nearest ATM for your bank is, or confirm some reservation? Library! Librarians or the public computers, either one. Return it to the next one 100 miles up the road or something.
Of course, the logistics seem like a nightmare. Books get easily passed around a county, but entire states? Across state lines? Probably wouldn’t work out. But still…