At the library this morning, I was reminded of our dependency on computers when I tried to borrow five books and the machine refused to accept my pin number. And so did the other. So I go to the counter and make noise and it turns out that their server is down due to a power outage. The lady behind the counter goes in search of their 'manual system', which turns out to be a small yellow notepad. She fills in my name and card number, then takes down the barcode of each book, stamps all the books, stamps the 'manual system' with the same date and then heads behind somewhere to run the books through to allow me to get out without setting off beeps at the exit.
It made me think of days spent at Queenstown Library as a kid, and lining up with my pile of books, all open to the back of the book, ready for the librarian to stamp them through. And of the library at my primary school, with its uneven floors and dull lighting, little cardboard pockets at the back of each book, holding the dates due.