Until about 6 months ago, I was plagued with frequent insomnia. That changed, thankfully, and I’ve been sleeping very well most of the time. Until tonight, or last night, since it is now today. Ugh. Being awake (and blogging) at this time brings back the memory of those many long nights and early mornings of the past several years. I would always feel like a “night stalker” (as my friend and fellow insomniac Terri puts it) roaming the house in the shadows waiting for my body’s signal that it was ready to finally shut down and doze off. Or sitting at the computer staring at Facebook or Twitter or other blogs (since I didn’t have my own to write) or checking in with school, which is probably what was keeping me awake in the first place. Or reading, that too.
But now I have a blog, so I thought what better way to use this time; however, the only thing I can think to write about is today’s East coast earthquake, which will be written about and blogged about to death–has been already! Funny thing–just a few years before the time of Darren McGavin and the original Night Stalker, I was living in California when the 1971 San Fernando Valley earthquake hit, which caused many deaths and widespread damage. Now that was an earthquake. But today’s earthquake did feel different from the other tiny tremors I’ve experienced while living in Pennsylvania. It felt bigger, and it was bigger than most East coast earthquakes at the epicenter.
What struck me, though, was the reaction in my office. Those of us who felt it went looking for others who felt it, too. It not only shook the building, but it shook up our routine. Everything kind of stopped for a few minutes, and I found myself in a different area of the building talking to different people than I normally would at that time of day. Same thing happened last summer when (what we believe was) a small tornado came through our office complex–that was scarier than the mini-quake and caused even more of a stir.
Why does it take something out of the ordinary to shake things up? And when will “the big one” hit the world of libraries? What will it take to jolt libraries and librarians out of their normal routine? Some might say that already happened with the Internet and the Web and Google and budget cuts, and now ebooks, but I don’t think so. Those first few things have been around for a while and libraries have faltered, somewhat, but are holding their own, mostly. And with ebooks, well, many libraries are moving full steam ahead to embrace that technology and offer it to their users. But we can’t stay behind the curve and we can’t just get by. We have to prepare for the big one, whatever that turns out to be. I have no doubt that libraries can position themselves for a bright future. But we shouldn’t wait until we’re forced into it by something unexpected that takes us off guard. In the Night Stalker, Kolchak went looking for the out-of-the-ordinary. He didn’t wait for it to find him. If libraries wait, we might end up looking as vintage as that old photo.