Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Library Love

I LOVE libraries!  I love being surrounded by so many books, knowing that I could step into a different world, by simply choosing a different one. I liked libraries when I was a kid, and read a lot, but like turned into love when I decided to pare down my selection of books at home.

I had read a book called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, and there was a section that talked about people looking for love.  It mentioned how hard it can be for people to find a mate when they surround themselves with books; especially when those books are placed in the "Relationships" Bagua .  Since books dominated most of the free spaces around my apartment, I figured that was part of my problem; the other part being that I just hadn't met the right guy up to that point.

When I started to cull my collection, I realized that I had kept books that I had no intention of ever reading again.  Not that I didn’t enjoy the books—those I simply got rid of right away—but in most cases, I felt no need to go back and reread the story.  After cleaning my shelves of books whose pages I didn’t plan to open again, I began going to the library.  The benefits were two-fold: 1) I was able to save money by not buying a book I'd only read once; and 2) I was able to search the library's shelves for older titles by some of my newly-found favorite authors.  I was living in Chicago at the time, so I even had the network of all Chicago area libraries at my disposal.  They were willing to do the legwork for me and let me know when a book I wanted came from a distant location.

But not only was I able to check out books there; music, movies, and even learning a foreign language were all ripe for my choosing.  In this day and age, where entertainment moguls like to scream about the evils of media piracy, I want to point out to them that libraries have been “pirating” books for centuries.  And, if the book swaps I’ve been to are any indication, publishers don’t seem to be in too much danger from people not buying hard copies.

Another reason I love libraries is that you can physically touch the books.  There’s something satisfying about feeling an actual book in my hand, as opposed to reading the words on a computer screen.  Because I spend eight hours a day staring at a computer screen at work—not to mention the hours at home—I don’t want to put any more strain on my eyes than I already do.  Plus, as Ruthie says in the above cartoon, there’s a wonderful smell to books that you just can’t get from a piece of plastic and bunch of electrical parts.

Yes siree, Bob!  Whether it’s for research purposes, or a chance to experiment with a new author, a library suits my needs to a “T.”

How about you?  What do you enjoy most about a library?


  1. Since I was a small child, my idea of heaven has been a huge library with a comfy chair in which I'd sit and read my finds.

  2. What I love about my library? That I can virtually go through the stacks and place the books on hold that I want to read. I zip in, get the book on the hold shelf and check it out myself. It takes no time at all. I read so many books that those that I can read from the library I do--to save money and space on my bookcases. There are so many books that I want to read that I spend too much money already even when I download ebooks. So--I don't feel guilty for not supporting other authors. I do. But when I can "test drive" new authors from the library, that's so much better. Then, when I do spend money for beach books, I know what I'm buying.

  3. I've always loved libraries. Today I don't browse the library shelves as much, but every time one of my book clubs pick a book I don't have, I call one of the two libraries I frequent and put it on hold. If they don't have it, they contact their branch libraries or a library exchange to get it for me.

    Today I have a room in my house that's devoted to books with two walls floor to almost the ceiling of book shelves, plus another free standing book case. I find it hard to get rid of any book I've read and enjoyed. It's not unusual for me to go to one to look something up. Yes, a lot of those books haven't been read yet, but I'm planning on getting to them someday. I also enjoy sharing my books with others. I know I buy too many books, but it's better than smoking, gambling, drinking too much or buying too many clothes IMHO. - Gloria

  4. Another tremendous benefit of libraries is that they have LIBRARIANS in them. People who can help you find books described by patrons is ways that would fool the CIA. People who can help you not only find an answer but also help you learn how to find answers for yourself. When asked by the FBI to let authorities find out what books particular patron checked out and to see who checked out particular book, Librarians answered, "No."

  5. I agree with you, Linda. The big comfy chair is ideal for reading in. Which is why those are the ones all taken whenever I go to my local branch. ;o)

  6. I love that, too, EB! And something else that's cool (that I never saw before coming to the library here in Alameda) is that you can do a self-check out of the books you pick up! I'm a HUGE fan of self-check out...though I agree with you, Warren, that it's nice to have a librarian there to answer any questions I might have. & it's very cool that they refused to give out info when asked.

  7. Yes, Gloria, a book addiction is WAY better than being addicted to other substances. But, WOW, that's a lot of books! :o)

  8. Oh, Alyx, if you think Gloria has way too many books, you should never come near my house. Every wall covered with bookcases. Each door holding bookcases (for paperbacks). Every surface (just about) covered with stack of books. And that doesn't count the bins of books in the basement and garage. (Professional reference books that Ben and I may need to refer to again for some other freelance job in our fields.)