I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?
It is sort of funny that this question came up on a morning when I’ve already posted this week’s Library Loot. I actually answered a lot of this question in LAST week’s Library Loot, but I’ll reiterate a little.
As I mentioned in my post last Thursday, “The Library and Library Loot,” for a long time I did not use the library. I am one who generally prefers to own my books so I can reread them, but for a variety of reasons (check out the post, I have been told it is at least sort of funny) I have realized the need to slow down my acquisitions, but I can’t bring myself to ignore all the new books that come into my awareness. Enter, the library.
I love my local library. For years before I got my library card I would go there with my laptop to work on resumes, look for a job, do any important computer or document-based task that would be endlessly procrastinated if I stayed at home. I’d say our library is a cross between sleek and modern and older and cozy. It isn’t dark, but the light is not glaring either, they are quite technologically up-to-date, but also have a cozy, small library feel. Plus, Monday thru Thursday they’re open until 9 pm, which is incredibly convenient. When I finally did get my library card, I had no intention to check out actual books. I first got it specifically to get an audiobook for my husband and I to listen to on a car trip. Then I started requesting DVDs I wanted and bringing home more audiobooks. Now I have 11 or 12 things checked out at a time and (currently) nearly 30 items on my holds list.
I’m not totally sure what happened to make me ‘eh’ about the library for so many years. Don’t get me wrong, I thought they were absolutely essential public institutions, I just didn’t have any desire to use one. When I was young we went to the library fairly frequently (and I would almost always check out “Where the Red Fern Grows”. I can remember when my class (in 4th grade?) took a field trip to the local library to learn about it and how to use it. I don’t remember much about being in the library exactly, since I was already quite familiar with it I probably didn’t pay the most attention to the instructions. We were, however, allowed to check out some books if we had a library card. That’s the day I learned that I was only allowed to check out 50 books from that library at a time. Now, obviously I didn’t actually check out that many, because we had walked the mile, mile and 1/2 to the library and would be walking back, and 50 books is a little much for an elementary school student to carry that far – not that I would want to try it even now!
When I was in 5th or 6th grade, the county I lived in went bankrupt, possibly because of embezzlement, but I was young so I’m not quite sure I remember correctly. When this happened, our county libraries seriously cut back on their hours, making them less and less convenient to use. I’m not positive, but I’m guessing that at this time we stopped using the library pretty much althogether (although my obsession with collecting and reading Baby Sitter Club Books may have slowed us down years earlier).
Do you use your local library? How and how much?