Night Vale - The Public Library 9/15/2012
From episode 7, "History Week". For more information on "Welcome to Night Vale", an excellent (and free) horror/comedy podcast, visit commonplacebooks.com or @NightValeRadio on Twitter.
Tags: Welcome to Night Vale History Week Commonplace Books Joseph Fink Jeffrey Cranor Cecil Baldwin Earwicker Disparition Night Vale Community Radio Night Vale Something Awful public library municipal library haunted library Helen Hunt bear baiting Library (Building Function)
Added: 6 months ago
"Welcome to Night Vale" is a podcast presented as a radio show for the fictional town of Night Vale. It was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, is voiced by Cecil Baldwin, and is published by Commonplace Books. The podcast airs twice a month, and consists of "news, announcements and advertisements" from the desert town, located "somewhere in the Southwestern United States". In an interview with NPR, Joseph Fink commented on the creation of the series, stating that he "came up with this idea of a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real, and we would just go from there with that understood."
Every episode of the podcast includes a piece of music as its "weather report,", each by a different independently-published artist. The theme and background instrumental music to the series was created by the band Disparition. In July 2013, Welcome to Night Vale became the most downloaded podcast on iTunes.
The Night Vale Public Library is a notable landmark in Night Vale, although there is widespread dissatisfaction with the library among the town's citizens. Its available public computers are outdated and slow, they provide a lending period of only fourteen days, and the Biography section contains nothing but 33 copies of the official biography of Helen Hunt. There have been reports of a faceless spectre who roams through the Biography section, bringing visitors to an untimely end. Cecil expresses his desire for the City Council to make some serious changes to the library, "or I may find myself hoping that the faceless spectre puts the library to the same mysterious, violent end as its many victims."
Unidentifiable black metallic trees suddenly appeared by the library back in June, causing all airborne objects above 30 feet to catch fire. They were cleared away to make room for a new strip mall and parking lot.
Paul Birmingham, a vagrant, lives in a lean-to behind the library.
As of episode 29, the public library "was burned down last night", and it was "only a matter of days before we'll need to burn it down again".
The library is run by a group of malevolent librarians which the Night Vale citizens are encouraged to be cautious of. In 1993, "an unchecked librarian population resulted in the loss of many innocent and screaming book lovers." To this day they are not trusted, and it can be assumed that they are the main cause of the establishment's fatality rate resting "well above the national average for libraries." As of The Phone Call, librarian repellent dispensers have been placed throughout the building for the safety of the visitors. Visitors are warned that should they be approached by a librarian, they should remain still and try to make themselves bigger than the librarian.
In First Date, Cecil also advises, "Remember: if confronted by a librarian while looking for a book to check out, do not attempt to escape by climbing a tree. There are no trees in the library, and the precious moments it will take you to look around and realize this will allow the librarian to strike."
The public library also boasts a Board of Directors. This group was involved in the opening of the new branch, stating that the private library will "serve the community by showing how rich Marcus is, and what a great guy that obviously makes him."
The Night Vale Public Library has chosen to open a second branch, the Night Vale Private Library. Announced in First Date, it will be located next door to the current library, and will be open only to Night Vale's local billionaire Marcus Vansten. The private library's selection will be expansive, with thousands of books on any given subject, and a Biography section featuring biographies of both Helen Hunt and Sean Penn. The library will also include such extravagances as a childrens' area shaped like a pirate ship and floor-to-ceiling windows which will face the public library.
Additionally, this new branch will have no librarians, ensuring Vansten's safety from the numerous librarian maulings which occur in the public library each year.
Episode 28 - Summer Reading Program
Does it even matter how many living things you touched today, or where they all are now? Welcome to Night Vale.
The Summer Reading Program for children and teens has begun at the Night Vale Public Library. This comes as an alarming surprise, given that the program was abolished by The City Council thirty years ago.
Though parents and teachers have asked on several occasions to reinstate the program, The City Council has maintained its position, citing lack of taxpayer funds, the extreme danger posed by books, the peril of exposing children to librarians, and of course, the incident that precipitated the ban (which the town's older residents will refer to only as "The Time of Knives").
Nevertheless, in a show of civic dedication (or mindless bloodlust, and they really are so similar) Night Vale's librarians have banded together in defiance of authority to reinstate Summer Reading.
Colorful posters with appealing statements like, "Get into a good book this summer!" and, "We are going to force you into a good book this summer!" and, "You are going to get inside this book and we are going to close it on you and there is nothing you can do about it!" have appeared overnight around the library entrance and in local shops and business, all sporting the clever tagline, "Catch the flesh-eating reading bacterium!"
The Sheriff's Secret Police have responded by interrogating the proprietors of businesses where the posters have appeared, and by removing and confiscating the posters themselves...although, to be honest, listeners, the graphic design work is really cute. I mean, have you seen them? The little flesh-eating germ, with his sun hat and library book, using a screaming, semi-skeletal human victim as a beach chair?
* * * * *
After fierce debate today, The City Council has officially declared murder illegal; a crime that has, until this point, been handled using informal vigilante squads. The head of one such squad - Vincent LeFarge, of "Grab ‘Em and Sack ‘Em" - argued that Night Vale has gotten along just fine for years without the government meddling in murder investigation or punishment.
"Do we sometimes catch the wrong guy?" said Vincent. "Sure. Most of the time. We're not sure we've ever caught a guilty one. Usually, we just grab the first person we see. One time, we tried to arrest the dead body, but it got away."
Proponents of the bill argued that most things in Night Vale are already illegal anyway, so citizens would hardly even notice the change. The law goes into effect in two weeks, and citizens are advised to get any necessary murders done before then - although, there will be a three-day grace period after the deadline, for those who are forgetful, or whose victims are hard to catch.
* * * * *
Some summer tips to beat the heat.
First off, have you tried to reason with the heat? Humans, temperatures, angels, and chairs are all equally real and sentient - which is to say that we're all not real, nor are any of us actually sentient. But give reason a shot. It has never, not once in history worked, but it might just work this time.
If the heat won't listen to reason, try denying that it's hot. "Doesn't seem hot today," you might say to your profusely sweating neighbor. "A little chilly, even!" you could continue, slipping on a sweater and making an exaggerated brr! noise as the glaring sun plants the idea of cancer in your skin.
And, if denial does not work, then your best bet (as with all problems in life) is exhausted resignation.
This has been "Summer Tips to Beat the Heat".
* * * * *
And now, a public service announcement.
Here is a brief list of everything that is helpful:
* The Sheriff's Secret Police
* The City Council
* affection falling just short of love
* ceiling fans
* other sundry organs
* the 2005 Honda Accord
* ultimately, nothing
Anything not specifically named in this list should be considered not helpful and potentially dangerous. It's not just good sense - it's the law.
* * * * *
An update on the summer reading situation.
Fourteen young people between the ages of five and seventeen have already been reported missing, and are feared to be in the public library, and possibly learning.
Attempts by The Sheriff's Secret Police to enter the library, rescue the missing children, and put an end to all summer reading activities have failed, as all doors and windows have mysteriously disappeared from the library exterior - just like it was before the renovations. Our tax dollars paid for those doors and windows, and we shouldn't be expected to stand for library administrators just deciding to disappear them on a whim, even for a valid reason (like jealously guarding their possession of our stolen children) without at least putting the issue to a popular vote.
Anyway, in light of this development, The City Council has declared a level orange Fear Alert. They advise that all Night Vale citizens avoid the public library, and provide The Council with any information they may have on the whereabouts of the missing children, on librarians' secret weaknesses, or on good books they've read lately.
Any citizens who admit to having read good books, The Council added in an impromptu press conference televised from a book-proof bunker, will be immediately scheduled for re-education and subsequent de-education.
The Sheriff's Secret Police, meanwhile, have instituted a curfew for the entire town, effective immediately. After 7PM, all minors should be at home and under adult supervision, and absolutely no reading, researching, online information seeking, educational games, documentary television, or having a lifelong love of learning will be permitted.
As their catchy new slogan puts it, "Once it gets dark, forget everything you ever knew and be silent. Words belong to our enemies, and our enemies are words. So be as mute and pure as a bone bleached clean by our desert sun...by our desert sun."
The Police have also stated that any Night Vale citizen encountering a librarian, an entity suspected of being a librarian, or any excessively organized and helpful individual with a working comprehension of information systems is encouraged to shoot on sight. They also added that this goes for teachers as well, since, "what the hell, as long as we're at it."
We'll have further updates on this story as it develops.
* * * * *
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This message brought to you whether you like it or not.
* * * * *
The Freemasons have announced some changes to their hierarchy. These changes are the following.
Whereas before the Freemasons were under the authority of Stonemasons Worldwide, they will now be an independent subsidiary of the Hallowed Mason Council, which itself will be split into four branches, corresponding with the four directions we glance when nervous.
The Hallowed Mason Council will also provide guidance and financial support to the Retail Masons, the Wholesale Masons, and the Discount Masons, except in cases involving inter-Masonry disputes, which will, as before, be subject to the Small Brotherhood of the Large Chamber, the Large Brotherhood of the Small Chamber, or the Properly Fitted Brotherhood, depending on the patterns discerned in bones cast by a fully-licensed member of the Masonic Drone Legion or one of their proxies.
Now, of course, The Masons will continue their proud fraternal associations with The Illuminati; however, The Illuminati will itself be splitting into ten distinct factions, as follows:
* Faction Four
* The Real Illuminati
* The Other Real Illuminati
* Red Again
* Windhind, and
* Hungry Man Brand Frozen Foods Officially Sponsored Illuminati
This split will be overseen by The Council of Three, which will be supported by The Council of Five, and monitored by The Council of Zero. Elections for The Council of Zero will be held never, and will result in nothing. Discretionary funds for the Illuminati and Freemason Alliance Committee will be funneled through a number of secret bank accounts, their numbers known to no one, and their secrets kept forever.
All of this is in accordance with The General Secret Agreement of The General Secret Alliance of The General Secret Community, representing all brotherhoods and organizations obscure and hidden, including The Harpoon League, The Flying Cape, The Six Ancient Truths, and The Dental Underground.
The Freemasons would also like to remind you that none of this may be known to you, and that they are only telling you this to demonstrate your fragile mind, which barely parsed the words as they were spoken and have already forgotten the secrets contained, just moments later. You will never know anything, and you will not even know that.
* * * * *
Despite the best efforts of The Sheriff's Secret Police and citizenry, we have received confirmation that over a hundred children and adolescents have disappeared from their homes, beds, part-time jobs or summer forced labor camps, and are now presumed to be inside the Night Vale Public Library and subject to the Summer Reading Program.
Unfortunately, it is my sad duty to announce that this includes Intern Paolo, a high school junior who's been helping to organize the radio station archives over the summer months.
To the parents and family of Paolo: our hearts go out to you in this time of fear and uncertainty...as in all other times of fear and uncertainty, which is all of them, really. May you find comfort in the knowledge that, though your son may have been lost in a library, at least he (unlike many of his peers) actually went inside one of those at least once. The situation has -
Wait. Hold on just one moment.
I beg your pardon, listeners, but I've just received alarming news. An alert citizen has called in to report inhuman shrieking, thick, meaty sounds, and a coppery, rotten smell of gore and viscera coming from the now-sealed and impenetrable Night Vale Public Library - which are, of course, all fairly standard elements of the Summer Reading Program, as described in the library director's original proposal.
Painful though it may be, it seems that all we can do now - as so often in our dull, blinkered lives below a microcosm of horror and beauty - is wait. Wait, and hope, and know that our hopes are immaterial and powerless, and our wishes will go unheard by the indifferent multitude of stars, if indeed they (the stars) are even real.
But there are still some comforts that remain to us while we wait; small, shining baubles to distract us from the endless march of time towars events we have no control over, and outcomes we never imagined.
* * * * *
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you...the weather.
"You & I Belong" by Simone Felice
* * * * *
This just in, listeners! We've received reports that the entrances to the Night Vale Public Library have reappeared, and the missing children have begun to emerge from inside the building.
The children have been described as wild-eyed, feral, some staggering upright and some running on all fours like animals, caked in effluvia and far more emaciated than the time of their absence would seem to account for...but otherwise, well - healthy and unharmed.
At the head of the dazed and shambling pack was their apparent chosen leader, twelve year old Tamika Flynn, her mouth clenched in a blood-crusted snarl, and carrying the severed head of a librarian in one hand, and a gore-streaked sticker chart in the other.
Eyewitnesses who dared to get close enough to read the chart reported that Tamika had even finished "Cry the Beloved Country", which is very impressive for her reading level. Well done, Tamika!
Indeed, congratulations are in order for all the young people of Night Vale who participated in the Summer Reading Program, for proving that neither abduction nor captivity, neither horrors beyond imagining nor unfamiliar vocabulary, can prevent you from embracing the pleasures of belles-letres. Here's to you, boys and girls. And remember: even while we congratulate Tamika for winning your loyalty, with her sophisticated comprehension and extremes of berserker violence, that the real victory won today has been for literacy.
Stay tuned next for our countdown of last words, from, "stop telling me how to drive!" all the way to, "it's okay, it's okay, it's okay."
Goodnight, Night Vale. Goodnight.
The results of a recent survey of Night Vale residents came to light this week. The study found widespread dissatisfaction with our town's Public Library, and, when considering the facts, it's easy to see why. The public computers for internet use are outdated and slow. The lending period of 14 days is not nearly long enough to read lengthier books, given the busy schedules of all our lives. The fatality rate is also well above the national average for public libraries.
The library bloodstone circle does not appear to have seen any maintenance or cleaning in some time. There are reports of a faceless specter moving about the biography section, picking off lone browsers one by one. And that biography section, by the way, is far too small and has been oddly curated, containing 33 copies of the official biography of Helen Hunt, and no other books.
From top to bottom, the Public Library is a disgrace to our fair city, and I can only hope our City Council does something about that soon, or I may find myself hoping that the faceless specter puts the library to the same mysterious, violent end as its many victims.