Saturday, January 27, 2007

Action Research!

Yesterday I was meeting Trish for lunch at the Marietta Diner. We were supposed to meet at 11:30, and after leaving work I'd had o stop for gas, go to the bank, and swing by my insurance office. Thus I was on my way to Marietta right at 11:00. Plenty of time to arrive with my usual pathological punctuality.
But, right as I was approaching the Marietta area it occurred to me that I wished I had time to swing by the Marietta central library and pick up some books about Vikings. See, I've been reading Bernard Cornwall's series about Vikings, (The Last Kingdom, etc) and I wanted to do some research on the rowdy Danes.
Now I could have gone to the library after lunch, but I was planning on going to the Marietta Book Nook, which is in the opposite direction, so I thought to myself, "Hmmm, it should take me another five to ten minutes or so to get into the Marietta Square and reach the library. Probably take ten minutes to get to the diner after I leave the library. That would give me maybe ten to fifteen minutes to find the books I want. Not much time to scan the Card Catalog, find the books, and get them checked out..."
But I am an experienced researcher. I know my way around a library, let me tell you. I am the Indiana Jones of research. I am Action Researcher! So, throwing caution to the winds, I made my way into the maze of streets that is the Marietta Square. It was crowded, as usual, but I managed to get through the square in record time and make my way over to Old Roswell Road, where sits the fabled Central Library.
I quickly found a parking place and hurried into the library. I rushed past the front desk, skidded around the corner to the bank of computers which hold the catalog, and spotting a free terminal, slid to a halt, and without hesitation, typed in the word Vikings.
The clock was ticking as I scrolled through several pages of listings. There wasn't time to scan all the titles so I used an old researcher's trick. I noted the number codes whee Viking related material appeared most frequetnty. (R-948. and R-970. Thak you, Mr. Dewey)
I left the terminal and hurried down the aisles, dodging Soccer Moms, retired ladies, and at least one homeless person. Luckily my knowledge of the layout of the Library is vast. Within moments I was standing in section 948, where I snatched up Gwyn Jone's A history of the Vikings and Jacqueline Simpson's Everyday Lif in the Viking Age. And, BONUS, there was a DVD documentary about Vikings. Grabbed that too. I moved quickly over to area 970, where I found Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga, a massive, photo filled book about the Norsemen by Fitzhugh and Ward. I also picked up books about Greece and Byzantium that caught my eye. The Action Researcher is nothing if not versatile.
Loot in hand I retraced my steps to the front desk where there was no waiting. I took an extra couple of moments to chat up the reasonably cute librarian, who was impressed with my interest in history. Remember kids, there's always time to be charming.
Then I was out the door and back into my truck. Time elapsed? Nine minutes. And lunch was good too.

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