by Tara Morgan
Public libraries have it bad enough already. Not only has the economic sitch forced them to cut staff and budgets nationwide, but they also have to confront the physical book’s dwindling utility in the Internet and Kindle age. Well, now libraries can add bullying to their catalog of afflictions.
British Daily Show correspondent John Oliver delivered a low blow to the Boise Public Library during an episode of his recent New York Stand-Up Show, which aired April 14 on Comedy Central. Here’s an excerpt:
One of the things I love most about this country is I truly believe you are a lot more eccentric a nation than you give yourselves credit for. You’re much weirder than you think you are.
Recently I went to Boise, Idaho, for the first and, God willing, final time. There is something in Boise that I will never forget seeing. In the center of Boise on the main street, there’s this huge gray building and on the front of the building in gigantic yellow letters is one word, and that word is “library” … and then there’s an exclamation mark. [audience laughter.]
I spent hours trying to figure out what that exclamation mark was really trying to say. Was it, “I know! I can’t believe Boise’s got a library either! I don’t know when it got here or when it’s leaving but I think we have to learn to live with it now.”
Or was it, “Library! Just kidding, it’s a Chuck E. Cheese.”
Had Oliver done a cursory Google search for “Boise Public Library”—perhaps using the New York public library’s free wi-fi—he would’ve seen that the gray building with yellow letters that he “will never forget seeing,” he totes forgot.
And had he done another simple search for “Boise Public Library” and “Exclamation Mark”—or asked a Boise librarian—he could’ve saved those precious hours he spent puzzling over the punctuation’s meaning. It was donated by former Flying Pie Pizzaria owner Howard Olivier.