What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Discuss those "what if" or "what would you do" scenarios you've been wondering about.

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What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Leckie » Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:58 am

I was sitting here wondering what would happen to libraries and bookstores in the PAW. I'm talking total collapse, no remaining government, no law enforcement, no nothing.. Just a bunch of people trying to survive.

This is not a thread for "what books I would save" but a thread for discussing possible scenarios. Stuff like "I think someone would [insert illegal act]" is still allowed to discuss, right?
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Caenus » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:09 am

Look up the picture thread on Detroit. There are a few pictures of libraries where they just left the books on the shelves years ago. That's what I imagine happening.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Ableto » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:14 am

Well from a lot of cities closing their libraries and a lot of book stores closing, because most people get their books from online sources like amazon. Plus for the proper discussion here in the forums. I would say get your books now so you dont have to go looking for them after the paw.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by raptor » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:48 am

There are several threads on what books would you save/want. Search is your friend. That said your question is a bit different. There is no way to know what condition they would be without knowing the event.

That most public libraries (not attached to universities) tend to have a more limited selection if research reference books and tend to rely on borrowing from other libraries in their system to keep costs down. So what you have hand at most libraries may be limited. Obviously there are exceptions to this. I suggest that you determine what books you want now and arrange to have themvon hand ahead of time.

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by MacAttack » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:06 am

Good question.

But it seems to be more a question of wondering how long a buildings integrity will remain intact.

In a suburban and rural area I can see a library being more or less left alone and intact. No windows busted and at worst the doors left unlocked.
My reason for thinking this is no one needs the books for anything other than reading material. In an urban setting like New York or London people are going to need something to wipe with and or burn in a fire when it gets cold.
But there is no accounting for the immediate destruction by riots before the people die off. Or the random destruction of teenagers. Or even the wandering looter looking for a little late night reading material.

Other then direct destruction by humans or excessive weather most buildings will stay weather tight for a long time. They are designed that way.
But as soon as the windows are busted out rain gets in. And books and rain do not get along. The water inside the building will tend to raise the humidity in the rooms quite a bit and will even effect books far from the windows to some extent.
The roofs will eventually start to fail in a few years. Flat roofs first, then slightly slanted roofs, then lastly steeply slanted roofs. The higher the slant angle the less time snow, ice and rain will stay on the roof.
Anywhere from 5 to 20 years into the PAW though and water intrusion through the roof will definitely be a factor. Roof drains and gutters need maintenance and without someone cleaning them they become a cause of trouble instead of protecting the roof from trouble.
Each roof is an individual case but they all will eventually fail. They will fail long before the walls will let water through.

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Browning 35 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:18 am

Caenus wrote:Look up the picture thread on Detroit. There are a few pictures of libraries where they just left the books on the shelves years ago. That's what I imagine happening.
^This.

Nothing would likely happen to them. They'd stay right where they are.

They would just end up looking like this...
Image

...instead of this.
Image

So basically the lights wouldn't be on, there wouldn't be any staff to ask questions and some passing vagrant that used the building as shelter might have pushed some books off of a shelf. Other than that everything would likely remain the same.

Whenever I go to libraries they're pretty much empty. There aren't very many people interested in reading these days. When they do read it's likely to be magazines with a bunch of pictures or novels about teeny-bopper vampires.
Last edited by Browning 35 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by ZombieGranny » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:28 am

We would take care of our library.
Maintenance would be carried out by volunteers, people would still borrow books and bring them back.

Thinking of other 'community' buildings...
I don't think we would try to maintain anything more than perhaps one school.
It would depend on how many people were left.
The churchgoers would probably maintain the church closest to them, or whichever they can get to... I don't know if a firehouse would have any use if the mains no longer work.
If the police are still working, the police building would be maintained as well.
Around here volunteers pretty much do it all now anyway.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Boondock » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:55 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:We would take care of our library.
Maintenance would be carried out by volunteers, people would still borrow books and bring them back.
Yup. Mrs. Boondock is a librarian. So was my mother. Even a total breakdown of society, plague, disaster, zombies, wouldn't stop some librarians and volunteers I know from reporting for duty. And the die-hard ones take their "keepers of the knowledge" role very seriously.

Naturally, in a PAW scenario, Mrs. Boondock already has a list of books that would be "checked out" for an extended time for use at our BIL.

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by LyraJean » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:00 pm

Our library has lots of people. Not like mall crowded but people go there regularly. Maybe it's because we have a university close by. But I think it's because they are trying to be more of a community center and not just a library.

But I think in a PAW if someone came across an abandoned library they would try and locate books they need and use other books as TP and fire kindling.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Boondock » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:17 pm

Mrs. Boondock just informed me that libraries likely would experience a boom in the PAW. Why? Because no one will be able to look up information on the Internet. Also, important knowledge isn't passed down from generation to generation anymore. For example, our ancestors likely knew how to cultivate a garden, make bread, fix and build, repurpose old items, etc. Most people from the last two generations only know how to drive to the grocery store, hire a plumber, etc.

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by majorhavoc » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:28 pm

Leckie wrote:I was sitting here wondering what would happen to libraries and bookstores in the PAW. I'm talking total collapse, no remaining government, no law enforcement, no nothing.. Just a bunch of people trying to survive.

This is not a thread for "what books I would save" but a thread for discussing possible scenarios. Stuff like "I think someone would [insert illegal act]" is still allowed to discuss, right?

I'm assuming you've seen The Book of Eli? That's one vision of what people will do in order to preserve (and appropriate) the power of the written word.

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Sworbeyegib » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:19 pm

Image

Obviously.
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Image

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by PrairieRat » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:25 pm

Gets cold up here in the winter. What doesn't have an immediate & direct benefit... will do so by supplementing heating.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by ZombieGranny » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:29 pm

Gets cold here too; somebody needs to chop down a tree or break up some furniture, not burn the books.
(Except for badly damaged ones, of course.)

Burning books just might get a person a very bad local reputation.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Beowolf » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:33 pm

Having worked in libraries for over a decade, I have two observations. One, I would consider a library as a possible defensible position against the roaming hordes, though ones with lots of ground-level windows would be unfavorable. I would do this because they tend to be large and could accommodate a sizeable contingent of survivors. Lots of stacks would provide good boobie trapping opportunities, too.

My second observation is that I think looters and miscreants would likely destroy the building and its contents, probably with fire, simply because libraries have really available and visible tinder. And lots of people are fuckers who would destroy something just for the sake of destroying it.

I doubt the repositories of knowledge and literature would survive long in a PAW without active defense. But I welcome being proven wrong.

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Boondock » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:36 pm

sworbeyegib wrote:Image

Obviously.
Oh, hell, yeah. :D

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by PrairieRat » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:39 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:Gets cold here too; somebody needs to chop down a tree or break up some furniture, not burn the books.
(Except for badly damaged ones, of course.)

Burning books just might get a person a very bad local reputation.
Not burning books might get you DEAD by cold, there are few trees on the open prairie & no one has enough furniture to last a winter. Not being combative, being uber-realistic. But I will admit that miles of snow fence will see the torch first.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Browning 35 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:47 pm

PrairieRat wrote:
ZombieGranny wrote:Gets cold here too; somebody needs to chop down a tree or break up some furniture, not burn the books.
(Except for badly damaged ones, of course.)

Burning books just might get a person a very bad local reputation.
Not burning books might get you DEAD by cold, there are few trees on the open prairie & no one has enough furniture to last a winter. Not being combative, being uber-realistic. But I will admit that miles of snow fence will see the torch first.
You could always make improvised wood by twisting/knotting straw or prairie grass into 'sticks'.

Laura Ingalls father kept them from freezing to death in this manner.

Where there's a will, there's a way. You don't immediately need to start burning books, furniture and fences. You'll just be cold next year and then you won't have anything else to burn. You kinda need that stuff.

I got that idea from a book.
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Evan the Diplomat wrote:Why do you want to shoot penguins? What did they ever do to you?
It's that smug, superior attitude of theirs, strutting around in their fancy outfits like they're better than everyone else. Yeah, burn in hell, you snobbish bird bastards.

And don't get me started on pandas!

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by PrairieRat » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:56 pm

Texas huh? This ain't your world. Any idea how many tons of these fast burning hanks of straw I'd need to last from August to May? Temps down to -40F.
Many years we have snow on the ground as stated above. Its simply unbelievable to me that folks won't do whatever necessary in order to survive. I won't jeopardize body parts to frost bite because I felt a volume of Curious George was more valuable.
There is not a tree within 3mi of my place that I didn't personally plant. Its 15mi to any moderate stand of stunted pine. A PAW event will necessitate burning anything a person can find to heat, cook & sterilize water.
I've been off grid for my first year now, on the open prairie. Just thought ya'll should know.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Browning 35 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:00 pm

PrairieRat wrote:Texas huh? This ain't your world. Any idea how many tons of these fast burning hanks of straw I'd need to last from August to May? Temps down to -40F.
Many years we have snow on the ground as stated above. Its simply unbelievable to me that folks won't do whatever necessary in order to survive. I won't jeopardize body parts to frost bite because I felt a volume of Curious George was more valuable.
There is not a tree within 3mi of my place that I didn't personally plant. Its 15mi to any moderate stand of stunted pine. A PAW event will necessitate burning anything a person can find to heat, cook & sterilize water.
I've been off grid for my first year now, on the open prairie. Just thought ya'll should know.
Actually I've lived all over the US.

Worked for the Ingalls family in the 1880's. Go ahead and burn your books though, nothing to me. :Shrug
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Evan the Diplomat wrote:Why do you want to shoot penguins? What did they ever do to you?
It's that smug, superior attitude of theirs, strutting around in their fancy outfits like they're better than everyone else. Yeah, burn in hell, you snobbish bird bastards.

And don't get me started on pandas!

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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by ZombieGranny » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:06 pm

PrairieRat wrote: I've been off grid for my first year now, on the open prairie. Just thought ya'll should know.
I'm in the woods. Plants grow fast here.
I know there is plenty of things to burn here other than books.

What do you use for heating, et al now?
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by PrairieRat » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:17 pm

Tex, Read your profile, much respect.
Its just that most of our members don't, can't, know my world. Not until they live it.
I love books, but I think the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" is closest to the truth of what will happen.
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Do you know why the Indians here were nomadic? Nope, not the buffalo migration. Because a few families here can burn up every living thing within miles during one normal winter.
Plants do not grow fast here, we get far too little precipitation. Some sites call us "high desert" instead of high plains. When I purchased this place 6yr ago, I made a few passes with the truck, to see where I wanted my driveway. It took 4yr for one track to heal. That's just a putt putt across the prairie, no 4x4 testosterone craziness either.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:28 pm

Having propane delivered isn't "off the grid" which is probably why everyone is so confused. Off the grid would mean you live without support from external infrastructure, which is why I for one was very confused that you could be off the grid but would need to burn books.

OT: My library is near the ghetto, but next to the Nat'l Guard Armory. In the unlikely event of a Pockyclips, I'm betting that some roving band of Do-gooders will secure both of those locations with the help of the local police.
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Re: What would happen to the libraries in a PAW?

Post by 2now » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:51 pm

I expect libraries will either be staffed by hard core volunteers or become for profit businesses. In fact libraries might be the core around which towns regrowth. They do need help but only occasionally, and they provide massive value in an internet free world.
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