ask the librarian column by Alice Maggio

Ask the Librarian is a well-written question-answering column written by Alice Maggio in the web publication Gaper’s Block. Can you say “reading list sidebar“? We should all have this sort of presence.

“Excuse me, can you help me?”

I heard this question as I sat, hunched over a book, on an overcast afternoon at a Brown Line platform on the Northwest Side. But a single woman, alone on an El platform, enjoys few things less than solicitations or unwanted advances from strangers. I steeled myself for a confrontation as I lifted my eyes from my book, the automatic “sorry” already halfway to my lips. But the word died on my tongue when I saw the young man standing in front of me.