In The Stacks with Hans Weyandt: To Be a Regular

I’ve always thought how nice it would be to have a table that was mine, or a bartender or waitress who knew exactly what I wanted. While I am certainly nowhere near one of this library’s more frequent users, I have been here a handful of days and am starting to understand some of its traffic patterns. I recognize some of the true regulars. They might be starting to wonder who I am.

So I was interested in hanging out on a Saturday to see what weekend traffic was like. The Special Collections are open their normal hours (10am - 4:30pm) every first and third Saturday of the month.

My sample size isn’t very good for scientific research, but it’s all I’ve got.

It was both the same and very different.

As I approached the front steps of Central library, a young man (pictured above in a Marx t-shirt) asked, “Are you interested in socialism?”I must not have averted his gaze quickly enough for then he really jumped into his sales pitch. I have to admit to not giving him my full attention as the construction downtown was loud. Instead, I gave him two dollars for a copy of Socialism Appeal*.

I had been sitting down for about ten minutes in the Special Collections, perusing through books on the birds of Wisconsin and Louisiana**, when I heard noise that it first seemed to be a loud car stereo from outside. It then got louder and I was forced—with the two librarians—to walk over to the glass windows and see a group of University of Minnesota clerical walkers approaching from Nicollet Mall. They were chanting ‘the people / united / will never be defeated.’ I’m sure they have valid concerns, but given the recent events in Ferguson, MO, I thought the march lacked much gravity.

*For the record, I am not really interested in Socialism.

**I don’t know very much about birds. There is currently a showing of Volume Two of John James Audubon’s famous Birds of America. A different bird will be on display each week. This week was the snowy owl. As my own little tribute to Audubon, or birds, I decided to learn myself up a little. I picked the Louisiana book because it had pretty gold pelicans embossed on the jacket. I’m a sucker for pretty pictures.

Hans Weyandt is currently a writer-in-residence at the Central branch of the Hennepin County Library. Hans has worked at four independent bookstores in St. Paul and Minneapolis over the past 15 years. He is the former co-owner of Micawber’s Books and the editor of “Read This! Handpicked Favorites from America’s Indie Bookstores” published by Coffee House Press. He currently works at Sea Salt Eatery, Moon Palace Books and Big Bell Ice Cream.

Join us Thursday, September 18th at 6:15 pm for a tour of the collection and a conversation with Hans. Visit our Facebook event page for more info.