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Berkeley Library Branch Van Vanishes

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday March 16, 2012 - 04:37:00 PM

Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't. Mark Twain

It’s Friday morning, March 16, 2012. The Berkeley Public Library branch van is scheduled for 3 hours at the Live Oak curb on this cold and rainy day. Nothing on my BPL website account advises differently, so I plan to proceed uphill to pick up my requested books and other media and to return others, all with deadlines. 

Rumor reaches me that the branch van is not operating! Indefinitely. I call the BPL Questions phone number and get a recorded voice. I dial around and ultimately someone reports “it broke down…”. I check the Library home website: 

“The Branch Van is out for maintenance until further notice - Branch Van holds can be picked up at the Central Library beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14th. We apologize for the inconvenience. Questions - call 981-6174.”  

I won’t need to hike up hill to Live Oak this afternoon. And Ms. Vivian and her colleague won’t have to spend 3+ hours in the cold, unheated van. I drew this oversight to the attention of library administration ages ago; receipt acknowledged. I normally used the North BPL branch, where there were more than 3 hours in the library week, and it was possible to request/get more ‘holds.’ I also relied on South branch, mainly for the variety of its “New Books.”  

I make it in the cold rain and slippery sidewalks to downtown Berkeley. The branch van is indeed not in its designated parking spot. Is it being serviced by a local merchant? Wasn’t something said during North BPL’s closure celebration about its origins being VW in Germany?  

A recent Library’s Director’s report to the board focuses on the annual meeting of the American Library Association in Anaheim in June. (This is not the Public Library Association’s annual conference, which is presently meeting in Philadelphia.) There will be a placement center. 

Helen Rippier Wheeler, M.S. (Libary Science) writes the Planet's Senior Power column when she's not chasing down the library.