The following are transcriptions of audio notes of Dave Cooper, ALA Accreditation Coordinator, as he toured the Geraldine Godson Banned Memorial Library and Farmer’s Market, also known as the Banned Library, in the summer of 2013. Mr. Cooper was sent to Bannville, Mississippi to vet the accreditation standards of the local library school, the Banned County Polytechnic and Library School. The Banned Library is the local public library in the community and also serves as the library for the college, and as such also had to be vetted by Mr. Cooper. We thank Mr. Cooper’s surviving family for allowing us to publish these notes unedited.
Diane, please remind me to send flowers to the circulation staff of our local library. After spending the last half hour with Deborina “Debbie” Carnes, circulation assistant to the Banned Library, I am now aware with how little work one can accomplish while maintaining a work environment.
Miss Carnes stands at about five foot two inches, short bob haircut, and dresses like a highschool student despite easily being in her mid to late forties. She shook my hand as if I offered her a dead fish.
Mr. Banned had to excuse himself to help a patron, so I began questioning Miss Carnes about the circulation holdings of the library. Her awareness of the collection extended to the items that were on the shelf she designated “the ones that ain’t ugly” and “the rest.” When I asked her about how a library student would access information in the library, she answered “the Google.”
I went on to question her about various policies and procedures of the circulation department. Three times she shined the computer barcode scanner into my face.
Diane, if our child ends up like her I will throw myself into the ocean.
Luckily, another member of the staff, Reshonda Baker, answered all of my questions with ease. As the resident cataloger, Reshonda is rebuilding the catalog one item at a time. She works part time, though, due to the fact that she also substitute teaches at the local middle school, has three boys with active calendars, and, in her words, “can’t hang around these crazy white folks too often.”
When Miss Carnes began talking about the circulation librarian, Mrs. Baker retreated to her catalog.
“Cause she doesn’t want to gossip about Mr. Banned, that’s why. Thinks she’s better than me.”
I consulted my notes, “But Mr. Banned is the reference librarian.”
Miss Carnes rolled her eyes, “Yeah, but he used to date Natalie.”
To sum up what I learned, Evan Banned and Natalie Ford were once dating but had a falling out sometime last year, around the time when the children’s librarian was murdered but before Miss Ford became the circulation librarian.
Diane, I can see what Mrs. Baker was saying about these white folks... I mean, these librarians. There does seem to be a high amount of drama.
As I wait for Mr. Banned to return, I still feel as though I am being watched. As if just outside of my vision a presence... Was that? No. Those windows are ten feet of the ground, easy... Nothing could reach them...