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Ought to Be Warned

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There was a line at the reference desk, and the Library wanted out.

“Hi there!” said the librarian. The florescent lights shone off of her eyes, and her smile was like an ice cream sundae. “How can I help you today?”

A human and a little human wanted a book about the American Revolution that was appropriate for children, and the librarian beamed and gleamed and fed them seven possibilities. The little human wanted all of them.

The Library was pleased.

OUT, it said to the librarian.

The librarian didn’t reply aloud, but she grinned and sent them away with seven warm Library pieces in their fleshy hands. Out they went.

The Library luxuriated in the stretch, the slide.

The second human wanted an old map, or maybe a history book about southern Kentucky, she wasn’t so sure. The librarian blinked her inquisitive eyes and bared her happy teeth at her, and sussed out that a map would work better. Then the human learned to look up historical maps on the computers and printed one out.

The Library thought she needed more. Definitely more. Didn’t she need some Kentucky histories? Historical newspapers? Photograph collections?

OUT, whined the Library, when the human left with only a print-out of a map. The extension was measly; the Library could barely feel it.

“I know, darling,” said the librarian. “Don’t worry! There will be more.”

The third human had found a book about gay witches in the children’s section, and oh the horror, the iniquity, the shame. The book must be banned or burnt, the human didn’t know which, but definitely one of those.

The Library uncoiled.

“We provide free access to information for all patrons!” said the librarian lovingly. She clasped her hands over her heart to show her love, or perhaps she was holding back the Library as it undulated.

The third human did not care for this. Gay witches were not “information;” they were pornography.

The Library whispered to the librarian that dropping the entire 300s section on his head might help his attitude. The librarian ignored it, while inclining her welcoming ear to the human’s thoughts.

The human had many thoughts about Shame! Immorality! Corrupting the youth!

What about audiobooks? suggested The Library. I could slip in through his ears. I could soak him up.

The librarian knew that meant “drown him.” Humans couldn’t handle all information at once, but the Library did not know or care about what humans could handle. That was what the librarian was for.

“I can show you how to lodge a complaint!” said the librarian. She glowed with helpfulness.

The human wrote out his complaint, longhand, with a pointy ballpoint. If he could have heard the hissing of the Library, as the librarian could, he possibly would not have been so free with his suggestions.

“Thank you so much for your concerns!” said the librarian. The human sneered and dropped his complaint in the box.

The Library swallowed it whole.

“Have a nice day!” said the librarian, and dug in her heels when the Library pressed against her back, reaching for the human.

OUT OUT OUT, said the Library.

“I know, baby,” said the librarian. “Don’t worry. There’s always more.”