Lately, I have been logging long hours at any one of the 700 worn wooden desks in the reading hall of the Bibliotheque Ste.-Genevieve. As far as I'm concerned, it's perfect. It's cosy and warm in the winter (especially if you're lucky enough to get a spot by a radiator), and airy and cool in the summer. The books do not stretch to infinity, per se....but high enough to whet my appetite for eternal shelving arrangements. On any given afternoon, the place is virtually overrun by a mass of leggy, Converse-clad Parisian high-school students, all giggling and nervously studying by turns. The long-suffering librarians wheeze, sigh, or scold as the spirit moves, but Ste.-Genevieve herself is a benevolent matron who has been watching over her young brood with a more generous eye for centuries. Still, if you want a spot to read, you had better come before the lycee across the square lets out; waiting till later usually means an hour-long wait or more.
An hour, just to get in? Yup. Once you're in, then you order the books you want to read, which takes another half-hour for the librarians to fetch from the stacks. You think this is bureaucratic? Wait till I start belly-aching about the Bibliotheque-Nationale next year. I know of doctoral students who have been refused a library card there during the required, inital interview. Stiff is the competition for the right to information.
This attitude seems to relax somewhat when it comes to the public libraries. Karl has found a wealth of resources at the Mediatheque Musicale...minus the guard dogs. There are scores of notated jazz and classical tunes, recordings of every possible album an aspiring musician could hope to hear, and lots and lots of books. I can always tell when he's been to the musical library...he's usually beaming.
And the study he's been doing has been paying off. Talk about dreams coming true....his quintet just recently played at a venue in the heart of Paris, and he's got two more gigs in June. We recently launched a website to get the word out about his musical pursuits. If you have a moment to check it out, let us know what you think on the guestbook page!