Ahh the library

I have always maintained that the library is the best deal around. The post office is right up there too. How else can you send a letter anywhere in the US for $0.44 and where else can you borrow a stack of books for $0. I have frequented libraries as long as I can remember.

I distinctly remember the excitement of applying for my very first plain white PLCMC library card (with my name on it) so that I could check out mounds of those tiny Beatrice Potter stories. I can remember the smell, sitting on the floor and filling up my canvas bag, and eventually making my way around the entire building (it was quite small) as I and my tastes grew. One of my fondest memories is of my elementary school librarian Ms.M who would recommend books for me and ask me about the stories that I’d read. I may be inflating but I think I may have read just about everything in that one-room gold mine. It is where I first discovered the Little House series (I still walk by and smile fondly at the box set I got one Christmas), where Judy Blume and Beverly Clearly told me about growing up, and where I escaped through fantastic tales. I have had this same excitement and awe as I’ve frequented university libraries both for pleasure reading, for research, and late night study.

Even though I frequent the library I’ve always maintained the desire to own books, they are crisp, clean, and snuggle-in-bed ready. This may be an artifact of my terrible allergies. I still sneeze and have itching fits after schlepping through the stacks with my booty. The past few years I’ve noticed that the library can be a sort of pain. I am always getting those ‘books due’ reminders and ‘can not renew’ reminders. As I usually select a stack of books, it is difficult to get those read and mixed in with my own in the 2 weeks allotted. I’m running more frequently into a different problem, often times the library does not have what I’m looking for. They have all of the newest sensational books and many copies at that. Older books, multicultural books, and some social studies non-fiction they don’t have. Is it because of the demand, is it the topic? I always thought of the library as a well of varied information but it seems that it’s becoming more and more of a bestseller distributor (and we know that I steer clear of that list). There are most likely financial issues that factor here.

I recall reading of others’ experiencing these same frustrations. Or course reading bell hooks, paule marshall, and maya angelou they had trouble finding books written by black authors and by women.

I’ve dreamed of becoming a librarian and helping young kids discover a love of reading (in high school I volunteered in the children’s department) but really, maybe it’s not that I want to work, shelve books, or work in collections, I want to spend my day reading surrounded by stacks of books.

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3 responses to “Ahh the library

  • Nicole

    I love libraries. The librarians always give me looks when I bring 8 or so books up to the counter, but when I’m reading I tear through books very quickly. I usually go armed with a list of books that I want, and then I’m devastated when they don’t have ANY of them, so I wind up settling for something that I toss to the side in a couple of days. Sometimes I get lucky.

    I would much rather be able to afford to buy whatever books I want, but book prices keep going up and my available space keeps going down. They just look so beautiful stacked on shelves. When I moved cross country I had to give away about 10 boxes of books because I just didn’t have the space for them. It was incredibly hard and now I wind up looking through the books I have left, positive that the book I want is one that I kept. More often than not, this isn’t true.

    From the time I was little, I wanted nothing more than to have a job where I can just read books all day and finally settled on librarian and I’m working towards that right now. I love your blog. Really nice!

  • Nicole

    Oh by the way…I just found a neat book rental site called bookswim. It’s like netflix, but for books. I found a bunch of books that the library never has, so maybe you should check it out.

  • LeaningSun

    Nicole, I know exactly what you mean about lack of space on the shelves and expensive books. They do look so nice stacked up. My local library has an inter-library loan service for books that are not in the system but I haven’t tried it yet. Bookswim looks like a great idea. I used to have Netflix so I know how good it feels to come home and have a little surprise waiting.

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