I suppose every library has its regulars. Most of our regulars come in to do a task or two, such as check e-mail or pick up a book and then leave after half an hour or an hour. This is not the case with Paul.
Paul lives across the street and he usually comes in the door when we open at 10:00 a.m. He takes his book, which he purchased from the library when we downsized our reference collection, and diligently copies out information. He sits at the back table with his books and notebook. When you ask him what he is doing he says that he is researching WWII. He usually stays until around five minutes to five, when we close.
For awhile Paul used the computer. He was especially interested in pictures of German planes and ships. He would copy hundreds of black and white photos and diagrams of these ships. He carefully wrote down the captains of these ships as well as the battles that these ships were used in. He would often get over 100 copies made a day--which he sometimes paid for with all dimes.
At first when Paul came he didn't say much. But now he always asks, "And how is your lovely day?" when he comes in. He also likes to join in conversations about history. This afternoon there was a discussion about a massacre that the Mormons perpetrated on a group of settlers heading west. Paul seemed to think this occurred during the Civil War (another of his interests). He also looked up when Grant was President in his reference book. The massacre actually occurred in 1857.
I guess everyone needs someplace to be--everyone needs human connections. Sometimes that place just happens to be the public library.