One of the things that any ongoing user of the State Library of Victoria's research facilities (as opposed, I'm guessing, to the people that go there to take heroin or sit at a table with their schoolfriends) has to get used to is the way that they become de facto staff members. We should all strike for the right to get a little kickback every time we show someone how to use the photocopy card machine or where the domed reading room is, and so on. But yesterday took the cake (and now I think about it perhaps this is where I got on the 'I'm an elitist freak' jag of below) for making a library user feel like a zoo animal.
I was using a microfilm reader to look at the Broadmeadows Observer from 1991 and a young guy about 20 came by and burst out with 'wow - you can just call up anything from the past in there!' I am prone to the worst interpretation of anything I don't understand so I checked myself and said 'what do you mean?' and he said 'You can just look at anything on that!' - he obviously thought it was some kind of history computer. I said, well, no, you have to get microfilms out of there - and I indicated the rows of drawers containing microfilm. And he said, 'Oh so you've got a bit of paper in there?' (he obviously hadn't registered the word 'microfilm' or considered it jargon). I showed him the actual reel of film. He regarded the cabinets and walked away saying 'This place is incredible!'
I know, I know, I should lighten up. Maybe I didn't smoke enough pot in '96.