This is a summary of a segment from the video-feed of a micro-camera placed by an agent on a bookshelf in the Lacuna Library. It features a conversation between Megan Penn and Jordan Brown: she is interviewing for a job at the Library. The camera is on one of the first shelves, near the top of the side which faces the open reading gallery beneath the windows. The agent was aware that this meeting would take place through his surveillance of Ms. Penn, and though they were seated far away, he was able to capture their conversation through remote manipulation of the camera. The image shows Megan Penn and Jordan Brown sitting on either side of a low wooden table, in two large, heavily cushioned chairs. They are surrounded by more wooden tables and comfortable chairs, all empty. Megan Penn is dressed in a dark, slim, but sensible looking pant-suit. Her hair is bright red, and her ears are covered in piercings, though she has none on her face. She wears a black top hat and a red scarf made of a thin, gauze-like material. There is a leather trench-coat over the back of her chair and an umbrella is propped against it. Jordan Brown is dressed as his namesake, in an earth-toned tweed suit jacket with suede elbow patches, a dark brown shirt, and a blue tie. He wears a brown bowler hat, blue slacks, and brown leather shoes. He has no coat or umbrella. Jordan Brown does have a cup of coffee, steaming on the table, which he sips intermittently throughout the conversation. Behind and above them is a inwardly curving stone wall in which are set two huge, circular windows, the glass eyes of the statue in which they sit. The windows are near the top of the camera frame, and the city outside sits at the very bottom of the windows’ frames. Above it, up to the edge of the image, stretches a sky full of stars
Jordan Brown: So, miss Penn, why do you want to be a Librarian?
Megan Penn: Well… I love books. I always have. I never really got into television or computers or anything, I just kept reading books. That’s… well, I should probably mention that actually. I don’t like computers, like… really don’t like them. I know Libraries these days all use computers and I can deal with it but I’d really prefer to use them as little as possible. Anyway, I’m getting off track, I… well I guess I also just like being around books, you know? They have an… energy to them that I find so… powerful, especially so many in one place.
JB: I… see. What are some of your favorite books?
MP: Well, “Mary Plotter”, of course. [She laughs, a little nervously] “A Tear in Time”, “The Ruler of Rings”, “Alex’s Adventures in Mirrorland”, “Flatworld”. I’m definitely not going to mention “Dusk”, or “The Witch Diaries”. Nosiree [Brown laughs]. Honestly though, I really like to read almost anything. I’ve read most of the classics and stuff, and I’ve read a ton of fantasy and science fiction, and I’ve read some really weird stuff, and I’ll read newspapers and cereal boxes and signs and cigarette cartons and trashy magazines and little scraps of paper I happen to find, and graffiti and sky-writing and those weird scribbles construction workers leave on the sidewalks and roads. I’m the girl who actually reads all the plaques at zoos and museums, and I’ve read every book I’ve ever been assigned for school from cover to cover. I’ve even read the Bible, and most of the other stories of that sort. You know the long blocks of legalese on any contract, which nobody reads? I read it, even if I don’t really understand it. I read the dictionary. And the encyclopedia, just for fun. I’d probably read the proverbial phone-book for real if I didn’t have anything else. [She laughs] I’m sorry, I really tend to ramble. All those words just come leaking out.
JB: [He laughs] Well, what can you tell me about your previous work experience?
MP: Well, I actually worked in the Library at Lacuna University when I went to school there. You know, the one in the Cathedral, the student center? It’s not nearly this big, of course, but I was there all four years. I loved it, and it was really good experience.
JB: Indeed! I saw that on your resume. Can you tell me anything about your relationship with your coworkers?
MP: Um… well… they were all really nice. My boss was another student, and we all got our work done but had fun, too. One of them… would become my husband. But he’s… [her voice chokes and she tears up slightly]
JB: Oh! My apologies Ms. Penn, are you alright? [She nods, and wipes her eyes. He waits for a moment, and then continues] I assume you are familiar with the Dewey Decimal System? [Megan nods again] Well then, you know that in addition to that system, our Library also uses a different system of classification? One we developed “in-house”, so to speak?
MP: Oh, yes! I learned the LLCS (Lacuna Library Classification System) in my first year of school. I had to learn it to find any of the books I wanted to read.
JB: [Chuckles] I see, yes, well, that’s quite impressive. Some do find it rather… arcane.
MP: A little, but as I said earlier, I tend to like that sort of thing.
JB: Indeed. Now, how would you characterize your availability?
MP: Well, I have a daughter, Dawn. She’s four, and we just adopted a puppy. We haven’t named him yet. So that pretty much takes up my days, which is a large part of why I’m here tonight.
JB: I see. Yes, I remember that you specifically requested to meet at night. Well, that explains it. So, as you know, this interview is for the position of Night Librarian, which requires keeping to very… unusual hours. You would be working from when the Library closes at 9PM to 5AM in the morning, You would be doing everything the Day Librarians don’t have time for: checking the books in the bins in and out, sorting, filing and restocking them, pulling and labeling books for reserve. Lots of moving books around, and you would also be responsible for basic cleaning and maintenance of the space. It will involve some lifting and carrying of fairly heavy loads, and you will not have a lot of social contact, since the staff will be a skeleton crew. I should also let you know that there have been a few reports from the Night Librarians of… unusual occurrences. Nothing to be worried about, but I’m sure you know the reputation. Most of it is exaggerated gossip, of course, but not all of it. I’ve had more than a few… odd encounters myself. So, Ms. Penn… is this all understood and acceptable to you?
MP: It sounds perfect, to be perfectly honest. Just what I wished for.
JB: I beg your pardon?
MP: I, uh… yes, that is all understood and it’s all very acceptable. Does this mean I have the job?
JB: [Smiling] Well, not yet. Not as such. I’ll be in touch.