TR (ANNC): And now-from the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library. We bring you: Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.

SS: Oh it's wonderful, seeing people in the library. One of the nice things about hard times -- people who used to order books online, buy them willy-nilly, put it on a credit card -- now they realize they can read those books for free. Borrow them. From a library. What a great idea. It's been around for a couple hundred years and now it's being rediscovered.

TK (TEEN): Miss Harrison, we've got a line of people waiting for computer time. People are getting sort of nasty.

SS: This is the challenge of the librarian -- to take these patrons who've come in to use the computer, or to use the toilet, or to read some auto repair manual, and to direct them to Jane Austen -- to Turgenev -- to Joyce Carol Oates.


TR (LOUD): You the librarian?

SS: Yes, sir, I am. How may I help you?

TR (LOUD): Yeah -- I'm looking for a book with a lot of pictures that's about history.

SS: I see. And which particular era of history are you interested in, sir?

TR (LOUD): The whole thing. All of it.

SS: World history or American history or --

TR (LOUD): All of that. Both of them. Everything. (CELLPHONE RING) Oh excuse me. My cellphone. (HE FLIPS IT OPEN) Yeah? -- (VOICE) Oh hi. --(VOICE) Yeah, I'm at the library. (VOICE) The library!

SS: Sir, if you don't mind--

TR (LOUD): You say they found a cyst? Really. (VOICE) A big one? Wow. In the crease. Boy, that is something.

SS: Sir, if you'd look at the sign over there--

TR (LOUD): Well, I noticed that big red thing but I thought it was a pimple, not a cyst. --(VOICE) Uh huh. -- (VOICE) Uh huh. -- Hard as a rock, huh. -- Boy o boy.

GK: Is there another line I could stand in please?

SS: You're not allowed to check out atlases, sir. They're for the reference room.

GK: Yes I know that but I just had a question about this one. Whether Australia is a country or a continent...
TR (LOUD): You said there's a rash? (VOICE) And green pus. Huh. (VOICE) Did they poke it or something? Cause how else would it erupt like that?

GK: Do you mind? How about you just do that outside.

TR (LOUD): Hang on a second-there's some jerk here telling me what to do.

GK: I don't want to hear your conversation.

TR (LOUD): Are you getting in my face? (VOICE) This jerk is getting in my face.

GK: I just want you to go outside-


TR (LOUD): Yeah I'm just here at the library, minding my own business, and this big weasel comes and gets in my face and starts telling me I can't even talk on the phone. (VOICE). I know, right. This is America and I can't talk on the phone??? Come on. (VOICE)

GK: I don't want to hear you. Nobody does.

TR (LOUD): Who cares? Too bad.

TK (TEEN): I think we have a situation here, Miss Harrison.

SS: I don't know -- I think it's good to have passion in the library. Sort of exciting.

GK: You know, on behalf of the considerate people of the world, I have to tell you that you are a clueless idiot.

TR (LOUD): Am I sticking my nose in your business? Am I? (VOICE) I come in here to ask about a book and this big galoot comes up and gets in my face--

GK: It's a library, you jerk.

TR (LOUD): I think you're the jerk here, you jerk.

TK (TEEN): Miss Harrison-uh-

SS: We haven't seen this much excitement in here since we computerized the card catalogue.

TK (TEEN): I think this is sorta different.

GK: You know two can play this game.

TR: Oh this is no game, mister. This is real life.

GK: I've got a cellphone -- you want me to call up somebody--?

TR: Go ahead it's a free country.

GK: I will.

TR (LOUD): Huh? (VOICE) I said it's a free country. Telling him if he wants to use his cellphone, go right ahead. No skin off my nose.

GK (LOUD): Hello Liz? Listen, I just called to tell you I am standing next to the ugliest person I ever saw in my life.

TR (LOUD): I got no idea what his problem is. Maybe he's got a cyst on his butt too. Who knows? Could be an epidemic.

GK (LOUD): This guy walks into his therapist's room and the therapist says "time's up."

TR (LOUD): How about I just kick him in the butt and find out? Huh?

GK (LOUD): When this guy goes camping, the bears build a fire to keep him away.

TR (LOUD): The problem is, his face and his butt look pretty much the same.

GK (LOUD): Last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it.

TR (LOUD): Last time I saw a face like that, somebody was wiping it with toilet paper.

GK (LOUD): Mister, if you walked into a freak show, they'd give you a job application.

TR (LOUD): Mister, you are so ugly, you probably had to trick or treat over the phone.

GK (LOUD): Mister, you must've been conceived at home because that's where most accidents happen. And when you were born, the doctor took one look at you and slapped your mama.

TR: Okay, that's it. Now you're in trouble. You just insulted my mama. Butt-face, meet my palm (BIG SLAP)

GK: Why you-you slap me I slap you (SLAP, TR WINCE)

TR: Ow! Double slap to you (SLAP SLAP)

GK: Oh yeah? How about this-- Indian burn! (TR WINCE)

TR: Come here-

GK: What?

TR: Wet Willie! (SCHLUP, TR WINCE)

SS: I love it! Conflict! Passion! (THE SLAPPING CONTINUES) This is life!!!! This is what great literature is about!!! It isn't about looking at the sky!!! It's about triumph!!!

TK (TEEN): They just busted a computer, Miss Harrison!!!

SS: Ah, computers. Who cares?


SS: You've torn an atlas, sir. The one with all the continents in it.

TR: It was an accident.

SS: Now hold on just one second. This has gone too far.

SS: You have damaged library property. Out. (SCUFFLING)

TR: But he said-

SS: I don't care. Get out! (BIG DOOR SLAM)-And stay out! And the next time you want to mess with a librarian, I'll be here waiting for you. (A BEAT, BRUSHES OFF HANDS, UNDER) Goodness. My poor atlas. Now where's that acid-free tape.

TK (TEEN): Wow, Miss Harrison! You threw those guys out of here like a coupla empty boxes.

SS: Reading imaginative literature builds inner strength, Trent, it can do more for your self-confidence than tai chi or kung pao.

TK (TEEN): So anyway -- about Australia --

SS: It is both a country and a continent, Trent.

TK (TEEN): Are you sure?

SS: Trent, look at me. I am a reference librarian. I am trained to know things. For sure.


TR (ANNC): Once again from the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library, Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.