the library is the arsenal

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Interstitial Library

Let us try to give an account of this history that is yet to come.

The Interstitial Library was or will be founded at a dark time in the history of the United States by a group of radical librarians who found themselves thrust into politic action by the persistent incursions of the government against their ethos of freedom of information. Long associated with the forces of repression and conservatism, librarians emerged in the early 21st century as the custodians of civil liberties. The shushing gesture (the index finger raised to the lips) was adopted and recast as a gesture of fellowship among the radical librarians and their followers. This group of radical librarians called themselves the SHH or the Society of HH, for reasons that will become apparent.

The SHH reasoned on the basis of the Dewey Decimal System that if every book had a unique call number, and there were infinite call numbers, then there must be infinite books still to be written (in which case the world was not in such immediate danger of total destruction as one might have imagined from contemporary evidence) and furthermore an infinite library to contain them; that as the call number for those books lay between the books already on the shelves, rather than beyond them, the shelf-space for those books must also lie between them; that there was therefore a great amount of space between any two books, however snugly shelved, just as there were infinite numbers between any two numbers; that if the space existed, it ought to be possible to get into it, providing you had not eaten a big lunch.

The only thing I love more than library science is when library science gets together with calculus and art in new and fanciful ways.