It was my first visit to the University Library and I was nervous as I’d heard so much about the place being huge and how easy it was to get lost in it.
Well it was certainly big. I checked my project requirements and headed off in the direction of the literature section, 800 in the Dewey Decimal System.
My work involved researching the work of Augustus Snide an English writer of some ill repute whose work was rather controversial in its day.
The lady at the desk suggested I try 822 – English Drama through to 827 English Satire and Humour.
It was a great start to have narrowed it down like I had but when I arrived it was a section that contained more books than I ever imagined.
So, I started looking at 822 hoping to find a reference to Snide.
I was startled when I heard a voice: “ Not a lot of luck, eh?”
Looking around I couldn’t see anyone. Thinking I was dreaming I carried on.
“Not a great call for books in this section.”
“It’s a mystery why they are even here.”
This time I turned around but there was no one there.
“Down here,” called a voice.
“Second shelf down,” called another.
Looking down I could see two small worms sitting on a copy of Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’.
“I beg your pardon,” I replied, “did you speak to me.”
“Of course, we did, no one else is about.”
“But how can you be speaking?” I asked.
“We’re bookworms,” stated the one to the right whom I noticed had on rather becoming striped vest.
“Bookworms?” I gasped, “you can’t be real? Can you?”
“You can see us can’t you?” asked the one to the left who was also wearing a vest but his was green.
“Well I can now but I think I might be going mad. Bookworms? What exactly do you do?” I asked.
“Well we hang about in the shelves, read to odd text, write reviews but mostly we keep the mites at bay. You noticed now few mites there are around here?”
“No can’t say I have.” I said looking about in case someone was watching.
“It’s nice to have someone to talk to,” said the one in striped vest.
“It gets lonely you know,” added the green vest.
“You’re the first person to come down here all week.”
“It’s a big library, why don’t you move somewhere else?” I asked.
“OH no couldn’t do that. Not the sort of thing we bookworms do,” stated the striped vest.
“We’ve been in 822 for years we have. Our whole family has been in 822 – 823 you know. My brother George and I have settled here on Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’ as we feel it reflects our lives.”
“Arthur’s right, you know, we used to hang around Emily Dickinson, over in 821 when we were younger and had more sass and spirit but as we aged we went for the more sedate volumes. When we get a bit down you’ll find us hanging out over at the Jane Austin.”
“Well sad to hear that, but look I’m looking for Augustus Snide, I writing a thesis on his work,” I said to them hoping for their help.
“Snide? Snide you say?” asked George.
“Never heard of him. Must be one of those hippy authors over in 827. Never had much time for them,” said Arthur.
“Want a good author, someone you can get your teeth into? Robotham, crime fiction, 822, good Australian author, you can’t go wrong,” said George.
“Yes, he is very good,” I replied, “ but its Augustus Snide I’m after.”
“You could try 828, miscellaneous writings, might have more luck there,” suggested George.
“I might try there then,” I replied.
“Yes, and say hello to Molly, you can’t miss her, a bit of a loud mouth, but more than helpful, if you get my drift,” added Arthur.
It was turning out quite a day, I mean who ever heard of actual bookworms?