Library Review – The Anza Branch

My introduction to this blog here as sort of background.

My first review is of my neighborhood library, the Anza Branch.   I’ve traveled to Rome, Paris, Berlin, Annecy, but this place….it takes the breath away, as you shudder the thought of having to enter the facility.  Ok, that wasn’t fair, but seriously, look at it!

Anza Library Front

Anza Library Front

This library takes me roughly 5 minutes to get to and thus is my home turf.  Although is it still your turf if you’re willing to deny its existence?  Regardless, it holds the core of my requirements which are, a quiet place to sit, a place to plug my computer, and free wireless.

So onto the review!

Lets be clear, this place is situated on 38th and Geary which is somewhere between Fresno and Bakersfield to use a central valley analogy.  No one really wants to stop and hang out around here, unless you’re running out of gas or have family there.  Its usually foggy, its littered with single family homes with cement “lawns”, and very few smile.  But its nice, people are quiet, its essentially a suburb within the city.  The community is mostly families of chinese and russian descent, for those keeping score.

Ambience

The moment you walk you are underwhelmed.  Its really hard to describe.  Its small.  Most homes in Presidio Heights would dwarf the place.  Boxy would be another term.  I’m almost positive that most interior decorators of DMVs would raise their noses at this place.  Lofty ceilings with strange american indian inspired art (I think), curtains commonly found in prisons, no color…let me be blunt, its pretty drab.  I’m not sure what the inspiration was for the architecture of the building but my guess is Mr. Reid said “f*ck it, just build it and go home”.

There are 3 tables to sit at.  There might be more but I choose to go with what is presented right in front of me.  Its literally a box best described with a photo.

The DMV punked this place

The DMV punked this place

There is very little “energy” happening in here so anyone looking for it should not attempt finding it.  German’s may thrive here, I don’t know.  From the above photo you pretty much walk 10 paces and to the left and front are 3 tables.  Enjoy.

Functionality

The seating is spacious, so you don’t have to rub elbows with some 47 year old who is still living with his mom.  The table is big enough so if someone dares to sit across from you, chances are your feet *gasp* won’t touch.  The chairs are a disaster.  Literally within minutes I’m reminded that I have no natural padding.  I don’t know who to blame for this, possibly my father, but honestly, the shifting going on here is borderline turrets.

Comfortable?

Comfortable?

The power supply is on the floor so you should stretch before arriving or prepare to get on your knees.  The floors probably haven’t been cleaned since Nixon.   Once plugged, seated, and ready, the rest is dressing.

Even though there are maybe 2 or 3 laptop users in the building, the wireless connection was spotty.  I’m sure it was the chinese gamer behind me with some bittorrent download going.  It was mildly annoying at times, but functional.

Clientelle

How to describe?  Lets see, its mostly handicapped elderly if thats ok to say (meaning lots of limping, shuffling and confusion), chinese math wizards with giant oversized backpacks, and that segment of society that has no real tag per se, you know…..wearing some wacked out 10 year old jacket, walks with a very slow gate, wanderer looking for eye contact (which someone did catch mine and yes, I got pulled into a coversation about my new fangled laptop — that is 3 years old — and how it has a transformer in it….awesome, thanks!), basically its that guy carrying a 30 times used brown bag of some sort and you hope to God they don’t sit next to you at all costs.

Location

The closest thing here is a laundramat.  There literally is nothing nearby so a snack or a coffee is not an option.  Its like going into the mountains, pack your stuff.

Random notes

The only people checking out books were 4 year olds.  Thank God the place is subsidized.

There is a reference librarian on call all day, just in case you need to find the letter R encyclopedia.  I have no idea what this person does except stare into a screen quietly.

I was impressed with the rule system for the bathrooms.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions

There were 25 books on psychology which I think is overkill for this community.

The good
Easy parking with no 2 hour limit or meters, never busy, lots of room to claim your space

The bad
Building energy, vibe and look, uncomfortable seating, spotty wireless, occasional weirdo lurking around, no food/drink nearby, depression

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