The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

There’s nothing more annoying than stumbling across a valuable service that should have an online presence, but pretty much doesn’t. The only reason I discovered that Seattle has a Hazardous Waste Library is that Dear Husband and I happened to drive past, and since I was in the passenger seat with my nose in my cellphone, I noticed that this place has a pokestop on Pokemon Go.

As I am drawn to all things peculiar, this got my attention. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to stop and investigate. Does it contain samples of various types of hazardous waste? Images of row upon row of jars of bubbling green liquid are dancing through my head. Do you have to wear a hazmat suit to gain entry? These are questions that beg for answers.

“No matter,” I said to myself. “I’ll just look them up online when we get home.”

If only it had been that easy.

First, I plugged “Hazardous Waste Library Seattle” into my search engine. The first thing that popped up was a Yelp entry. Sort of. First of all, no one has claimed this business on Yelp, so it’s hard to say if it is still operational. All you see on that page is a phone number and an address that brings you to the same place the pokestop does. There’s also a website, but when you click on it, you are given an error message that says, “403 – Forbidden: Access is denied.”

There are also two yelp reviews. Both are from 2010. A gentleman named Lars gave it three stars and said, “It’s not what I expected from a public library … very, very, very small;  have to be “buzzed-in”  to get into the building;  no library staff on duty;  topic material available are pretty narrow;  and I couldn’t check anything out. Now the up side of the review – pretty good selection of materials on all-things-hazardous (from the very technical to the laymen level) ; the hazardous waste office staff was friendly;  and I did find the answer to the question I had.”

Review number two was written a month later, in response to Lars. It was apparently the librarian of said library, Of course, she gave it 5 stars, and said, “I am the Local Hazardous Waste Management librarian. So glad you found our library and got the answers you needed. We specialize in providing guidance and information about hazardous waste and hazardous products used in King County residences and small businesses. You can find me in the library two days a week, usually Tuesday and Thursday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sorry I missed you when you dropped by, but if you would like to browse our collection online, just link to https://kingcountyhazwastewa.gov/about-us/hazardous-waste-library. I would be happy to help you further and you can check out materials. Feel free to contact me at https://kingcountyhazwastewa.gov/contact-us .

Naturally I clicked on both links. They both bring you to different pages on the Hazardous Waste Management Program website, which is apparently located in an entirely different spot. The first link sends you to a list of all the hazardous waste that King county does and does not collect. For example, they’ll take Lice Shampoo and Formaldehyde, but they won’t take smoke detectors or toner cartridges.

Fascinating. But it doesn’t tell you anything about the library, its hours, its purpose, or provide any images, with or without green goo. Based on this link, it’s impossible to say if the library even exists in 2022.

The second link sends you to a standard message form that you can fill out. I couldn’t work up the energy to do so, since I didn’t know the exact nature of the library, or how the place might edify me. That page also had a link to find a hazardous waste collection site, and information about a Haz Waste Help Line and a Garden Hotline.

There was also a link that said, simply, “Library.” That got me really excited, but when I clicked on it, it was another page on the website which turned out to be a document library. There, you can look at hazardous waste annual reports, and scintillating articles such as “Battery Product Stewardship: A Way Forward for Waste Management.”

So, back I went to my search engine. I found an entry at the ChamberofCommerce.com website. Again, the listing was unclaimed. It had the address and phone number, but no reviews. The website was http://www.mercuryinkingcounty.org. But when I clicked on it, it said “Server not found.”

Even the Mapquest Map doesn’t tell you if the place is opened or closed. Again, the page is unclaimed. Same address. This one assures you that it does have a wheelchair accessible entrance, though. That’s a relief.

As a last resort, I went to yellowpages.com. What a weird listing. It told me that the Hazardous Waste Library has been in business for 27 years. Same address and phone. No reviews. When you click on “visit website” it takes you to https://envirostars.org/, which is apparently a resource for people who want to start a green business.

Maybe one day, when I have nothing better to do, I might call the number and see what happens. But frankly, any place that can’t be bothered enough to have an online presence probably shouldn’t expect too much patronage.

It’s a shame, too, because everybody could use a little outreach and edification regarding hazardous waste. This could be an active, very vital library, one full of both general and technical information. Schools could bring their students there. They could have a table at local festivals. They could really be getting their library on by making a web page, and claiming their Yelp, Chamber of Commerce, Mapquest and yellowpages. At the very least, they should have these pages deleted so that some poor person who barely speaks English doesn’t show up at their door looking for copy machines and internet access, as they do with my little free library all the dang time.

But nooooo.

I’ll probably attach a link for this post to their message form and see what happens. Or maybe I’ll leave it in their Yelp review. Or both. I’ll be sure and give you the lowdown, dear reader, if ever it is given to me!

This is what happens when you need a picture for a blog post about a place that may or may not exist.

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

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