Wanted: Chief librarian for Slab City Lizard Tree Library. Must be literate, love books, the desert climate, live in own RV and enjoy colorful characters of all types. Pay is non-existent but the fulfillment of running this institution is something money can’t buy. Job starts today.
Sunday afternoon I arrived with some DVDs to donate, only to find piles of books thrown around, and an angry look on the face of Ron, the chief librarian. All of the doors to the place had also been removed, the sign had disappeared from the parking lot, and the book donation shelves were gone. He even took our Internut access away.
I was stunned, and asked Ron, “Uh, what happened to the shelves?”
His eyes were filled with rage as he said “I’m sick of picking up after people and their dog shit! I’ve had it! If they want to trash this place they can have it!”
Ron said, “It’s a self-serve library from now on. People can take care of it themselves. I’m done!” and he stormed out.
Three years ago, Ron arrived just after the founder of the library died. He was enthusiastic about keeping it going, and moved in next door. He took the wheels off his motorhome, set up an encampment, and went about the business of becoming chief librarian. He’s done an incredible job. Every time I went there, new books had been shelved, more fun knicknacks appeared and the floor was always clean.
But apparently the slobs around here made him snap. Or maybe it the 120 degree summertime temperatures. But last week he threw up his hands and surrendered. Now, this treasure is at risk of becoming just another trash heap in the last free place in America.
Today I made the “Save the Libaray!” sign and posted it inside, hoping that more people might care enough to stop taking the library for granted. Maybe we can change Ron’s mind about quitting.
I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to find out what happens next.
And if nobody wants the job, I just might apply when we return.