Beatrix leads the way into the library as Myria talks. The door closes behind them automatically.
"Yes, we have protective magic. I worked as a rune binder before working at the library, and I place enchantments on books that protect them from water, fire, and acid damage. However, these are not permanent, and I must refresh them every few years or so, so I place them only on particularly important or valuable books."
She is not fazed by the sudden gag! She's seen weirder in the Fringe.
"Er, what do you mean by brain computers? I've heard of computing devices before, but not ones put in brains. Perhaps a topic for another time."
She makes a grand sweeping gesture at all the books in the atrium.
"I'd love that. Book preservation is something we are very interested in. We know the basics. Certu regulates the temperature and humidity in the whole library, which has the advantage of making it comfortable for me too. He also ensures we don't get any bug infestations that might ruin the books. Yes, we have a printing press in my workshop, but we rarely use it.
Certu can make better copies. He can precisely inject his ink into sheets of extruded cellulose he makes, which is capable of copying out diagrams and pictures too. But only black-and-white – he can't make ink in any color other than shades of black. Also, it takes energy from him to do that, so we don't do it often. This is why we charge a cost for copying and printing services. Being able to print color pictures or have a better and more efficient printing press would be great. And no, the printing press does not have lead in it. I personally don't know the exact specifics of lead poisoning, but I do know that it stunts growth and causes brain issues if it gets into your body."
She sits down at the tables in the middle of the atrium. Unlike the study rooms, it's permitted to talk loudly here.
"As for you working here, I would be open to it, but not...immediately. I've been tracking the number of visitors who have been going to the library. It has always been a low number, but there has been a small but steady increase over the years. It would be good to have some help, even though it's not strictly necessary. The issue is that we prefer that the information we have be available to all. But I also know that there is much information that could be dangerous. A further issue is that dangerous information is also useful information. Information necessarily increases your ability to alter the world to your liking, for good, or for ill. Neither I nor Certu want to...be indirectly responsible for something very bad happening if a particular secret happened to fall into the wrong hands. But at the same time, it is really not up to us to decide what things ought to be known and not known.
It's a very difficult moral dilemma, and any compromise between those two values of ours is supremely dissatisfying. Still, we have to make it. Making you an employee would mean letting you walk unsupervised in the 'special' sections of the library, including the library's armory. You wouldn't be a very good employee otherwise. We've only met for ten minutes, and I'd need to get to know you for a lot longer for us to be comfortable with being in those areas freely. You are free to stay and potentially help out in other ways, though, such as with research. Renting a bedroom is free for the first five days.
It is very pretty, thank you. I had a hand in designing what it would look like. I met Certu as an adventurer in the Pink. At the time, he had captured me. I asked him to leave my books alone. It turns out that he didn't know what books were. I told him, and taught him how to read after he asked me to. He fell in love with them after that. He started out as a chest mimic, but we settled down here after a while. I used Earth Magic to shape the library's foundations and walls, and he would fill it in. We've been here for more than three hundred years. What about you? You said something about isekai-s, what are those?"