On my way to UT’s Perry-Castañeda Library today, I was shocked to discover that the main southern street entrance to the campus no longer exists. It’s been replaced by 100 cedar elms framing the view of the Capitol, right next to the Blanton Museum of Art, which has replaced the parking lot outside my old dorm. Score one for paradise.

Inside the library, I was in for another surprise: the sight and sound of an actual typewriter in actual use. It looked just like the ones we used in my high school journalism class (before we replaced those with late-’80s technology) and is apparently still the fastest way to get patrons’ names onto temporary library cards.

Besides my renewed card, I got what I went for — three books to aid in my Pasta research. And it occurred to me that I’ve gotten tons more use out of the UT libraries these past few years as a children’s writer than I ever did when I was in school there. In fact, the only book I can remember checking out while I was a student was — I kid you not — the autobiography of singing drummer Levon Helm.