Tim Russell: Once again we take you to the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library for the adventures of Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.



Sue Scott: In two minutes it'll be closing time, Trent.

Tom Keith (TEEN): Yes, Miss Harrison--

SS: Remind me to get John Keats's death mask down from over the circulation desk and dust it.

TK (TEEN): Okay.

SS: I want everything nice and shiny for the big open house tomorrow evening.

TK (TEEN): You really think people are going to come to a party at a library???

SS: Of course. A party at the library is a party you leave smarter than when you came in. I'm sure we'll have a slew of guests. -- Trent?

TK (TEEN): Yes?

SS: Not to intrude in your personal life, but -- you've seemed rather distracted lately. Is there something we need to discuss?

TK (TEEN): No, Miss Harrison.

SS: I hired you, Trent, so you would serve as a role model to the other teenagers of Herndon. Teenagers starving for the nourishment of mind and soul that is only found in great literature. The great epics. The --(DOOR OPEN, CLOSE) Oh. Here comes a patron. (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

SS: Welcome to the library, sir. We are closing in five minutes. -- Louis!

TR: Hi. Ruth. Could I use your toilet?

SS: Uh huh. I see. --It's been ages, Louis. Nineteen sixty-eight.

TR: I really need a toilet.

SS: Louis was my classmate from Library School, Trent. Louis Lipps.

TK: (TEEN) Louis Lipps-- seems like I saw your picture in the paper--

SS: Louis was a was a long-haired left-wing radical
librarian who read Ayn Rand and became a free-market
conservative in horn-rimmed glasses and a comb-over.

TK: (TEEN) Oh right. You're the guy who thinks libraries should be for profit, run by big companies.

SS: That's right.

TR: Please. I'm going to leave a big puddle on the floor if you don't let me go--

SS: You and I once led a student revolt against the cultural biases of the Dewey Decimal System.

TK (TEEN): You did???? Gosh, you never told me, Miss Harrison.

SS: We occupied the library, trying to force change.

TR: Where is the toilet?

TK (TEEN): What about the Dewey Decimal System?

SS: I'll show you, Trent. (FOOTSTEPS) Look. Europe and European history and literature is given all this space, and Africa is squeezed in to this little place. Christianity has a big space and all other religions are crowded into the number 298.

TR: Please, Ruth. Have mercy.

SS: You and I were close once, Louis. I showed you how to align books with the shelf. I taught you how to say SHHHHH without spitting. I put salve on your paper cuts. I introduced you to the electric pencil sharpener.

TR: Please.

SS: I saved you that time when you misshelved that copy of Fahrenheit 451.

TR: The toilet?

SS: Behind US History, second door on your left. (QUICK FOOTSTEPS)

TK (TEEN): Wow. Look at him go.

SS: After the revolt, he formed an organization called CAM -- Concerned Alumni of Minnesota -- which tried to get a dress code and make male students wear jackets and ties and women wear white communion dresses and have curly blonde hair and talk with a lisp.

TK (TEEN): Uh huh. Uh, Miss Harrison-- would you mind if I left a little early? There's this girl I'm sorta supposed to hook up with later, so.

SS: "Hook up," Trent? What does that mean?

TK (TEEN): You know, like hanging out, or whatever. It's no big deal.

SS: Is she your girlfriend?

TK (TEEN): No, I'm not ready for a girlfriend. I'm not emotionally available. She's just my hookup.
SS: I don't understand. Are you going ice fishing?

TK (TEEN): No, we like, hang out and do stuff together.

SS: Such as what? Be specific. Use the English language. Verbs. Adjectives. Gerund phrases.

TK (TEEN): Ok, well, I guess we get in the back seat, and like, you know, do stuff...


TR: The men's toilet is locked. Please. --

SS: Oh! I forgot to give you the key! Silly me. Here.


SS: Trent-- I've noticed you keeping company with Antoinette Dodge-- is she the one you're-- "hooking up" with?

TK (TEEN): How did you know?

SS: I'm a librarian. I know. -- And Antoinette Dodge is a girl known for writing in the margins of books and breaking their bindings. I have twice caught her talking loudly in the reading room.

TK (TEEN): But she's really nice--

SS: I hope you're not using the library for your trysts.

TK (TEEN): Our what???

SS: Trysts. Hook-ups. What is this you're writing, Trent?

TK (TEEN): No! Don't read that-- ...

SS: "Like windswept cornfields near Des Moines,
There comes a trembling to my loins" -- ???
Trent! I'm blushing.

TK (TEEN): Sorry, Miss Harrison.

TR: Wow, thanks so much. Great bathroom. Strong flush. Good to see you, Ruth.

SS: Luckily for you, the library was open -- despite the budget cuts that your reactionary friends have brought about, Louis.

TR: That student revolt opened my eyes, Ruth. Seeing librarians take the Dewey Decimal system into their own hands --rewriting it to suit their own agendas. That's what made me a strict constructionist. And now, thanks to some connections I've made in Washington, I'm in line to be the next Librarian of Congress.

SS: You idiot. You are no librarian, Louis, you have no interest in books. You only want to use libraries as a toilet, you betrayer! (SCUFFLING SOUNDS/ HALF NELSON)

TR: You're choking me with the chain on your reading glasses. (CHOKING)

TK (TEEN): Miss Harrison! What are you doing? (SS BIG KARATE YELL, AND THUMP OF INERT BODY ON FLOOR) Wow. I never saw you lift somebody up and throw them down like that before! Gosh!

SS (BREATHING HEAVILY): Reshelving encyclopedias builds upper body strength, Trent. Take this man outside and throw him in the snow.

TK (TEEN): And what about this thirty-foot trail of toilet paper stuck to the back of his heel?

SS: Leave it.

TK (TEEN): And can I leave then, Miss Harrison?

SS: No, Trent. I want you to sit down and read the first six chapters of Madame Bovary. It's a caution against the perils of a casual "hook-up"--

TK (TEEN): Oh, man.

SS: I'm not a man, Trent. I'm a woman. A woman with a passion for books. That's why I became a librarian.


TR: Join us next time, when we present another episode of... Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.