I have been suffering from a serious conundrum lately. I'll call it a "literancial" problem ... definition: my financial situation keeps getting in the way of my literary needs. There are so many great books out there I want to read, but I simply can't afford to buy them all. Besides, my environmentally-conscious friends would say its irresponsible to support all that destruction of trees for the paper to print so many books that could be borrowed from friends, past around in the family ... or, as I've discovered this week, checked out of the library.
YES, in almost every city, there is a public library. You know what they let you do at these public libraries? They let you take books home, for FREE, and read them at your leisure. If you take longer than the three-week check-out time to read them, simply renew the check-out ... which you can even do online.
I've actually known about libraries for a long time. I used to hang out there with friends in "study groups." I used to spend hours researching, photocopying pertinent articles. In the 8th grade I got kicked out of a library for talking too much (I know, shocker). I've long associated the library with course work, and inhibiting my verbal needs.
As I've grown up, and no longer needed the library to pass classes, I forgot about it, left my space open for future generations of students. I left the library for book stores. I love book stores. I can spend hours in a book store, flipping through books, reading excerpts from random novels, checking out everything from gardening and cooking to dog breeds and puzzle books. I love them all. Book stores are full of one of my favorite things: the written word. They're also quiet, a state of being I've come to fully appreciate and seek out.
What I have discovered is that the library ... its just like a book store! I feel like a kid who just discovered another floor to the candy store ... the floor with all the chocolates from Europe ... and they're FREE. Everything suddenly clicked, came into focus, and all the sudden the library made the most sense in the world. So I went online and applied for a library card. Then I went to the library a few days later, and actually found the book I've been wanting to read (The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde), and took it home. I got to start reading that day.
No more waiting for someone I know to be finished with their copy, or the person they lent it to to be finished. No more waiting for Barnes & Noble gift cards, or sitting in the aisles of the book store trying to finish as much of a book as possible. NO MORE! I can have it today, read it today! (... as long as nobody has checked it out before me ... and it was published before 2004.)
Might I take this moment to encourage you to rediscover your local library? Its not just for research projects anymore. Its a huge building, full of the written word, waiting to be discovered by the financially strapped, lovers of literature, and environmentalists.
Here's to that most powerful of communication mediums, the written word, now available for free at a library near you.
11 July 2007
Posted by hjw at 6:58 AM