Monday, November 08, 2010

The Traveling Librarian Gets Lost

My sister and I took a road trip from Austin to Washington DC to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on October 30 and we got lost--twice--once looking for Neely's Bar-B-Que restaurant in Nashville, and once trying to find our hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. We had a big Rand McNally road map of North America (a two-year-old edition that cost a dollar at Recycled Reads!), Mapquest on our laptop, internet on our cell phones, and a GPS stuck to our windshield, and we still got lost. (We named our GPS Hermione. She spoke with a British accent and called the freeway "the motorway.")

In both cases your lost traveling librarian spotted a local public library and made a beeline for it, and there found comfort and information. In Nashville we asked for help at the Looby Branch of the Nashville Public Library (pictured below), and found that Neely's was right across the street, we just couldn't see it (Hermione was trying to tell us we had reached our destination but because we were in the middle of an intersection at the time, we didn't believe her). In Alexandria we stopped at the Kingstowne Library, part of the Fairfax County Public Library system where, after a long, long drive through the valley between the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge, Lori Day, the youth services manager, helped us find our warm, soft hotel beds.

So travelers, if a gas-station attendant can't untangle the streets for you, keep an eye out for a library (and dream of a day when libraries are open as many hours as gas stations).


Linda said...

My son, Ted Kavich, is the branch manager of the Kingstowne library. I'm not surprised that you received the advice needed to get you to your destination. The staff is amazing! Hope you enjoyed DC & the rally too!

Linda Kavich

tim snead said...

We did! It was extreme fun. And oh how I wish Austin had the metro system you guys have. On the news that night they were apologizing for the transit system being overwhelmed, and we were a bit squeezed, but I thought it was fabulous. A short walk, a quick ride, and there you are. That's exotic to most of the rest of the country. Sigh.

And what a beautiful city Washington is. All the marble buildings. It really is a showplace. (The lawn on the mall is a bit trampled, though.)