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Maybe shame-based competition WOULD solve our nation's problems

I went to my hometown this weekend of Champaign, Illinois. Champaign is located in the center of the state (basically), but if you talk to someone from Chicago, they will say it's in "southern Illinois." This is because people from the Chicago area are tools and think everything south of Chicago is southern Illinois. THE REASON THIS IS INSULTING is that in Champaign, WE make fun of that area. We do not wish to be included in it. They have southernish accents because of being on the border with Kentucky and Missouri, and they're all farmers. I think. True, Champaign is surrounded by cornfields, but we have an EXCELLENT university. A university that smells like cow manure when the wind is right, but an excellent university nonetheless.


I am writing a post solely so I can use this gif

The Champaign Public Library was one of my favorite places in Champaign growing up. It was the only place of note I could walk to from my parents', it had microfilm machines so I could do research on whatever weird topics had found me that week (also I got to pretend I was about to crack a murder case, because why else do people look through microfilm? certainly not to print out opera reviews from the '70s, I can tell you that), and the VHS section enabled my obsessions from Kathryn Grayson to Barbara Stanwyck in an era where there was Blockbuster or nothing.

The old Champaign library was hiiiiideous. Mainly because it had been built in the 1970s, a decade when there should have been a moratorium on architecture -- "Hey, we seem to be designing things terribly. Let's just sit this out until it fixes itself" -- but I loved its aesthetically unpleasant corrugated aluminum siding. I just searched for a photo of it, but no one took one because it was too ugly. 

Champaign has a rivalry with its twin city Urbana. Imagine if Democrats and Republicans were each given free rein of a town, and you have Urbana-Champaign. Everything in Urbana is very pretty and very old and very poorly maintained because they never have money. Everything in Champaign is commerce-driven and shiny and kinda sorta soulless. And we were shamed -- SHAMED -- by the Urbana Free Library (get over yourselves, Urbana, all public libraries are free) because it was this big beautiful stone edifice built in 1918 and we had our ugly stepsister library next door because our city didn't care enough about making its library pretty.

UNTIL. UNTIL ONE DAY, when I can only assume a councilman said "Fuck this, we're getting a better library than Urbana" and we built this marvelous creation:


I miss the building I walked to on the weekends and drove to first thing after I got my license, but I'm not an idiot. I'm not going to bemoan the fact that the children of Champaign now have to deal with a gorgeous library with a successful self checkout system that Chicago tried and failed at. And there's a FriendShop in the basement where you can buy donated or discarded books, and it's raised $50,000 for extra programs so far. I bought these:

This was like $7

Champaign's library is awesome. I'm super proud of it. It weirdly gives me hope for Republicans. Maybe if we say things like "Hey, y'know, uh, Mexico's got awesome healthcare," they'll be like "SCREW MEXICO, USA #1 WE'LL GET THE BEST HEALTHCARE IN THE WORLD." And then we can fix all our problems. One can only hope.


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