Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian
Saturday, October 11, 2008

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(THEME)

TR (ANNC): And now-from the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library…we bring you: Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian. (THEME FADE)

SS: I love when new books come in. It thrills me in some inexplicable way — (PAGES TURNING) this new bibliography of American reference works —- the world atlas — the smell of fresh paper and ink —- sometimes I'd like to just lock the door and pull the shades and be all alone with my books — my dictionaries…..my encyclopediae…..my thesauri…(DOOR OPEN, FOOT CLOMPS)

GK (GRUFF): This the liberry?

SS: This is the Library. Yes, sir.

GK (GRUFF): You got pitcher books here?

SS: We have picture books. What sort of pictures are you looking for?

GK (GRUFF): Pitchers of ships.

SS: We have pictures of ships. What kind of ships?

GK (GRUFF): Sailing ships. I just built a sailboat in my barn. Took me sixteen years. A fifty foot sailboat. Gotta figure out which is the mizzen mast and where the spritsail attaches to the jib and where to put the bobstay and the halyard and the taffrail.

SS: Well, my my —- an ambitious project.

GK (GRUFF): Yeah. Took me sixteen years on account of I was writing a novel.

SS: You're a writer?

GK (GRUFF): Yes, ma'am. Wrote a romance novel called FOR FUTURE REFERENCE.

SS: Why— you're—- you're Brad Carruthers???

GK (GRUFF): You read my book?

SS: Well I skimmed it. I don't ordinarily read romance novels, being an English major and all, but —- I saw the cover —- the picture of the attractive mature woman behind a counter with her glasses on a chain around her neck — and I opened it to —- well, to the part where she takes Captain Ferris — into the rare books room to look at a first edition of Edgar Allen Poe —

GK: Right, yep--

SS: …and he —- put his arms around her and kisses her. Over and over and over.

GK (GRUFF): Oh yeah. Interesting. That's the part I almost took out.

SS: You almost took it out? It was the high point of the book.

GK (GRUFF): Interesting. It just seemed so implausible to me. A sea-going man like Cap'n Ferris falling for a bookish woman like Miss Novello. It was hard for me to come up with a motivation.

SS: A motivation — why, she was sensitive, and yet adventurous — intelligent but with a secret taste for the wild and perhaps bizarre —- she was like so many well-read women —- her gentility concealed a passionate heart.

GK: Huh. Guess I didn't see it that way. (FOOTSTEPS)

TR: Ruth? Ruth? Oh— sorry. Didn't know you had a visitor—

GK: Not a visitor, just a patron.

SS: What do you want, Louis?

TR: I was going to help you shelve the new acquisitions—

SS: This is Brad Carruthers, Louis. The author of FOR FUTURE REFERENCE.

TR: Author of what?

SS: Lou was a computer programmer at First National bank. He got laid off.

TR: Yeah, So I'm volunteering at the library.

GK: Interesting. I just stopped at First National to pick up a quarter million in travelers checks. Funny to see that look of wild-eyed disbelief when you ask for a quarter-mil. Anyway —- you don't have any pitcher books of sailing ships?

SS: Oh, I'm sure we do. Let me just think for a moment. For some reason my mind is a blank and my heart is pounding like a trip-hammer.

TR: You look pale, Ruth—need a vitamin?

SS: I'm all right.

TR: Maybe you need lunch. I was just thinking maybe you and I could— well, I don't know — if you wanted to get some lunch maybe —-

SS: So where are you sailing your ship to, Mr. Carruthers?

GK: Sailing it down the Mississippi to New Orleans and then through the Panama Canal to the Pacific and all the way to the tiny Polynesian island of Nauru, the world's smallest independent republic.

SS: And what's on Nauru?

GK: Vast wealth. Russian tycoons have deposited billions in the banks. I'm going to find investors there for my Lake Superior Water Diversion project. Build a pipeline from the Great Lakes to Arizona and sell water to the Phoenicians. But first I've got to get this boat going.

TR: Here's a dictionary of sailing terms, Mr. Carruthers. Maybe this would be useful.

GK: This looks like an old book, Mr. Lou. Sorry. I'll just buy a book online or something —

SS: Are you sailing alone, Mr. Carruthers?

GK: I guess so. Hadn't thought of it. Why not?

SS: It might be lonely for you. Months at sea with no company. No one to talk to.

GK: I have books, Miss Harrison. My ship the SS Ulysses has a full library. It carries more than 4000 volumes. No, no—- I'll have no need of a companion. I have books.

SS: You might need someone to shelve those books. Keep them in order. So that as the ship is tossing and you're at the helm and you should suddenly wish, say — a volume of poetry — poetry of the sea —- you could pick up the intercom and say, "Ruth, bring me some sea poetry" and — minutes later, you'd have it.

GK: Hmm. Interesting. You may have a point there.

TR: What about lunch, Ruth? I'm starving. I'll call and make a reservation.

SS: I don't know, Louis. I haven't thought about lunch—

TR: Okay but if you think you want to, there's a little Italian restaurant down the street. Il Pianissimo. It's quite good.

GK: It's closed.

TR: No, it isn't.

GK: Just passed it on the way to the bank. Locked up. But my boat is anchored in the river and I could always toss together a salad and some pasta.

SS: It sounds — divine.

TR: I'll drive. If you'd like.

SS: I need someone to stay here, Louis. Take care of the library.

TR: But I'm only a volunteer.

SS: It's okay.

TR: I don't have the authority to lend books.

SS: I will deputize you.

TR: I just remembered —- I have an appointment at the hair salon in ten minutes.

SS: You? A haircut?? Why?

GK: It's okay, Miss Harrison. I'll send you a postcard.

SS: No, no—

TR: I have to go, Ruth. Sorry.

SS: Please— Mr. Carruthers— I'd love to see your boat.

GK: Come see it. Just lock up the library.

SS: Lock up the library?? I can't do that.

GK: Why not? Hang a sign in the door. "Gone To Lunch".

SS: But what if someone needs something? Urgently? Like a perioical? (STING)

GK: Well, it's up to you. Nice meeting you, Louis. So long. (FOOTSTEPS)

SS: Once more …my duty to the library gets in the way of personal happiness and fulfillment. (THEME)

(THEME)

TR: Join us again soon as we take you to the Herndon County Library for the adventures of Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.

(ORGAN)

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