If I come down with any kind of cold or mysterious disease in the next seven to fourteen days I am going to blame the Minnesota Twins. Up until this year they played at the Metrodome, two train stops after I got on the train. They only played the occasional day game and those who took the train to the dome would have to fit in around those of us who had worked all day and were on our way home. The train would get pretty packed but the baseball fans would often remain amiably on the platform and wait for the next train instead of everyone trying to cram into one train.

This year the Twins are playing in a new stadium. It is two train stops before my stop now. And because it is a new stadium, there are lots of Twins fans excited about attending games. And because it is an outdoor stadium, there are lots of day games scheduled this year. There was one today. There will be another tomorrow.

So the train got to my stop already crammed with people. I managed to squish in and immediately found myself pressed up against complete strangers rather more intimately than I’d care to be. Of course they all had to be tall men too so my face was at armpit height. Thankfully it was not a hot day today. Tempers flared as more people tried to get on at the next stop and there was nowhere for anyone to move as they tried to shove their way onto the train.

Needless to say I did not get to read. There was one insane commuter who was making an attempt but as people kept shifting and trying to make room for more people he kept getting more and more squished and his book kept getting knocked around. Finally he did the sensible thing and put the book away. I tried to see what he was reading but couldn’t make out anything through the crowd.

By the time I got home I felt like I needed to take a hot shower but chided myself for being ridiculous and settled for a change of clothes and thorough hand and face washing.

Enough about that. How about more library stuff? Is this getting boring? From OCLC, the people who bring us the magnificent WorldCat:

  • There are 16,600 U.S. public libraries
  • There are nearly 12,000 public libraries that offer free wi-fi. That’s more than Barnes and Noble (1,300) and even more than Starbucks (11,000)
  • Business owners and employees use public libraries 2.8 million times each month to support their small businesses.
  • Two-thirds of all Americans have a library card
  • 5,400 public libraries offer technology classes. There are only 4,000 businesses that offer technology classes and the library’s classes are free.
  • There are 13,000 public libraries offering career assistance and only 3,000 U.S. Department of Labor sponsored career centers.
  • Every year Americans visit the library more often than they go to the movies and six times more often than they attend live sporting events (including professional sports)
  • U.S. public libraries circulate as many materials every day (7.9 million) as FedEx ships packages worldwide (8 million).

Hopefully I will not get irreparably squished on the train tomorrow or come down with a mysterious disease. But one never knows so if I disappear you will at least have an inkling as to why.