Part THREE of my Olympia trip:

First of all, a congregation of librarians is the most rowdy and exuberant group of people I’ve ever seen.

I met several interesting folks, all book-crazy, when we were waiting for our first tours of the day: The Washington State Library.  (Please see my photo album — pictures do so much more than my words for conveying everything I’ve seen.)  Did you know that the building the State Library moved into was not designed for books — and so they had to cut their collection by half, and then get creative with storage just so the building wouldn’t collapse on them?

Yeah.  I never thought books would be so heavy, but….

(Certainly gives a new pro to the “love digital literature” argument!)

In the State Library, I saw more historical materials than I could begin to shake a stick at.  There were two globes, a celestial and an earth, that were part of the original Library (Territorial) from 1853.  There was a mahogany? walnut? card catalog that was made specifically for the Library.  They had state reports from the 1900s.  They had city directories of Seattle from the 1890s.  They had wicked cool shelving (moveable, nonetheless!), and I guess they even had originals of some of the Lewis & Clark journals.

Cool.

I left feeling a lot more appreciation for research facilities than I had in a long while.

Our next stop was the Capitol Building.  I have never been in a building that had such a… profound… effect on me before.  I mean, you hear people talk bad about America.  But then to walk up that grand flight of marble steps and see the dome rising hundreds upon hundreds of feet above you….  It almost brought me to tears.  Think about it.  People labored for years to erect this monument in marble and bronze to house our democratic process.  They felt so strongly about protecting their freedoms, about taking pride in having freedoms… that they created this beautiful, magnificent structure for our government.  For our People.

It’s humbling.  And emotional at the same time.

I took so many pictures of the Capitol building.  Words cannot even begin to explain the feeling I had walking through the House Gallery, the Senate Gallery, and the Reception Room.  Our tour guide had been a tour guide there for over 25 years, and the love and pride he had in that building was obvious in his every word.  Of course.

It was his very first job.

He even asked me to play the 150+ year old piano in the Reception Room (I was the only one there who knew a bit of piano).  He said the instrument was commissioned specifically in honor of President Washington’s love for music, and that they try to get it played as often as they can.

It was beautiful.  The whole building was beautiful.

Someday, I would like to go back, and spend more time there.

The conference the next day was also great.  I took a lot of classes, learned a lot of really great stuff.  I love my job.

And then it was time to go home.  Even though I looked forward to the flight, I felt it was too soon.  I wanted to stay another day or two.  Or three.  But I packed my things anyway, and caught my shuttle in the rain.  Arrived at the airport and went through security.  Got some food at one of the Starbucks stands in Sea-Tac.  Ate.  Shopped.  Got the call for my flight, boarded, and came home.

There’s really nothing more to tell.

 

For pictures of my flight, trip, tours, and flight home, go here:

http://s194.photobucket.com/albums/z75/heatheringemar/Olympia/

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