For the first time in over a year, I visited the physical premises of George Mason University’s Fenwick Library (on the Fairfax campus). I was in search of a non-circulating collection of early essays in The Economist.
Mask wearing, of course, remains mandatory in GMU buildings – a policy that this Summer semester I, being fully vaccinated, proudly ignore when I teach my in-person class. Yet I wanted badly to consult the volume, so upon entering the library I dutifully donned a mask. But when I tried to go into the stacks, a friendly 20ish-year-old library worker informed me that “For everyone’s safety, the stacks are closed because of Covid.”
Quite surprised, I asked “For how long?” Answer: “Until at least the Fall.”
“How can I access this book, then?” Answer: “We can send someone up to get it and bring it down, but it’s Sunday and we’re short-handed, so we can’t do it right now. But you can try to access it on-line.” I stalked out of the library in a fury, and made sure to take my mask off before even leaving the circulation desk.
Luckily, after much effort, I found a semi-readable version on-line – with the emphasis on “semi.”
When, if ever, will this derangement fully end?