Friday, September 4, 2009

#31: Valencia Park/Malcolm X Branch

Visiting Time: 2:00-3:00PM
Did I get lost on my way? Nope
Book Checked out: Innumeracy: Mathematical illiteracy and its consequences (John Allen Paulos)

Book Selection: 3 bookmarks
Seating: 3 bookmarks
Staff: 4 bookmarks
Architecture/Atmosphere: 3 bookmarks
Total: 13 bookmarks

I knew it would happen sooner or later. On today's library trek, I ended up at a branch I'd previously been to. Of course it was nice to be back, but it threw off my catch-up-from-last-weekend schedule.

Before erroneously showing up at Oak Park, I checked out the Valencia Park branch. I am beginning to think that the single biggest impact on a favorable library atmosphere is a high ceiling. This branch feels open and airy, bright, and a place you could study (which many people were doing) or read for pleasure (which I was doing).

This pleasure reading concerned the problems that arise in a society that either doesn't value or doesn't bother with getting statistics correct.

From the introduction:

"I remember once listening to someone at a party drone on about the difference between 'continually' and 'continuously.' Later that evening we were watching the news and the TV weathercaster announced that there was a 50 percent chance of rain for Saturday and a 50 percent chance for Sunday, and concluded that there was therefore a 100 percent change of rain that weekend. The remark went right by the self-styled grammarian, and even after I explained the mistake to him, he wasn't nearly as indignant as he would have been had the weathercaster left a dangling participle."

So writers and mathematicians aren't so different after all.

Paulos' story of the partygoer's error reminded me of Wednesday's ESOL class, in which a student asked me whether the word "studying" were a gerund in this sentence:

"She's in her room studying."

I didn't know. (In my defense, I've been scarred by two years of Latin and its inane use of gerunds and gerundives).

The professor and I figured it out, though. "Studying" is part of the present progressive "is studying" and simply split by a prepositional phrase. Occasionally, it is good to be called out for not knowing something. Because when you find the answer, you won't want to forget it and again risk embarrassment.

(Awkward photo of center computer terminals. From here, a small ramp leads up to half of the book stacks.)

(Fountain near the entrance.)

("Paleolithic Outcroppings" [according to a sign] in the branch's parking lot.)

1 comment:

Lakin Khan said...

wow, pretty dang spectacular! If I'm ever in San Diego, I think I'd make a point to visit this branch.

And that gerund stuff always gets me; a verb cross-dressing as a noun? whaaat?