October 16, 2010
Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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Ruth

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(ORGAN)

TR: Once again we take you to the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library for the adventures of Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.

SS: Trent----- Trent-----

TK: (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH): Yes, Miss Harrison------

SS: Mr. Parker is coming. That idiot from the Library Board. I want you to strew books around on the tables. Open the books up. I want the place to look used.

TK: Okay, Miss Harrison-----

SS: We have a battle on our hands, Trent. The board is going to cut our allocation and they want to move us into a tiny cinderblock building out on the highway, where the convenience store used to be, and bulldoze this beautiful library to make room for a parking lot for the new sports complex they want to put in across the street. Fifteen million dollars to build that big barn and eighty grand for a shoebox to stick the library in.

TK: How can they do it? People love the library.

SS: They're fools, that's how. They don't care. Parker inherited the plastics factory from his father and he sits in his office and plays computer solitaire all day and he's got no more sense than a red squirrel.

TR: Hi, Ruth! Hi Brent!

TK: Trent.

TR: Whatever. (ELECTRONIC WHOOPS) Whoa. My phone. Sorry. (WHOOPS) Just got it a week ago. How do you turn this thing off? Dang it. (WHOOPS) How do I answer the thing? Is it this? Help. (WHOOPS)

SS: It's a smart phone, Mr. Parker. That's why you're confused by it.

TR: Oh well, I missed the call. So what? ----Came in to talk about putting in a coffee bar, Ruth.

SS: Putting in a coffee bar where?

TR: Here. We'll take out the reference desk and put in a coffee bar and teach you and Kent here----

TK: Trent.

TR: ----how to make lattes and sell them for $4 apiece so the library can generate revenue and pay for the demolition. We'll sell library T-shirts and when we tear the building down we'll sell individual bricks for paperweights.

SS: But what about the library patrons, Mr. Parker? What about people who love books?

TR: The new library is more than big enough.

SS: It smells of barbecued chicken-----

TR: We'll spray it so it smells of grass and flowers. As for book-lovers, Miss Harrison, they tend to be people who use books as a substitute for life ----- people like yourself and Brent----

TK: Trent.

TR: ---- who never find love because you fear rejection so you find imaginary love in books and books, of course, never let you down. Sorry if that offends you, but it's the truth. (KONK, TR DIZZY) ----- Whoa. Where am I? Who? Mama? Is that you, Mama?

TK: A great big book fell on him, Miss Harrison----

SS: It appeared to come from up there----- on the top shelf.

AMS (REVERB): It was I who dropped it.

SS: Who are you?

AMS: (REVERB): Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

TK: Wow. The guy who wrote Sherlock Holmes???

AMS: (REVERB): I wrote other books too. And I was very much involved in spiritualism which some people thought was a hoax. Communicating with the dead. Ha. The dead are communicating with you! So watch out---

SS: I appreciate your help, Sir Arthur, but it's against library rules to throw books. So please refrain in the future.

AMS: (REVERB): I do beg your pardon.

SS: Mr. Parker-----? Wake up? (SLAPS) (TR INCOHERENCE)

TK: Slap him some more. (SLAPS) Maybe I should kick him.

SS: No, Trent---- Mr. Parker------

TR: Who should the check be written out to?

SS: A check!

TK: Look! He's got his checkbook out! Here's a pen.

SS: This is more than I could have asked for. Write it out to the Herndon County Library, sir.

TR: And what is the amount?

SS: Fifteen million dollars.

TR: Yes, ma'am. (SCRIBBLING)

TK: Wow. Good thinking, Miss Harrison. We're in business.

SS: Now we can build that children's wing that we've always wanted. And put in a quiet room. And a fireplace.

TK: What if he comes to his senses?

AMS: If he comes to his senses, I have a copy of Marcel Proust, all ready----

SS: Come, Mr. Parker, let's get you home.

TR: Yes, ma'am.

SS: A good library is never without resources, Trent. Up there on those high shelves, we have detectives. We have elephants and lions. We have a great white whale. And if things go from bad to worse, we always have a raft that we can take down the Mississippi. A library has just about everything a sensible person would need. Including books.

(THEME)

TR: Join us again soon as we continue the adventures of RUTH HARRISON, REFERENCE LIBRARIAN. (MUSIC OUT)

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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