This week’s Booking Through Thursday meme asks us to reflect on our local library:
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?
I did go to the library as a child – I would say from pre-school through about 1st grade. I distinctly remember sitting on the floor in the children’s section looking at ALL the picture books trying to decide which ones I would want to take home to re-read. I do not recall using the library much after I learned to read on my own; I do remember saving up my weekly allowance and in about 3 weeks time I had enough to go to the local Sage (a pre-cursor to Target or Walmart in Houston, TX) and buy another in the series of Nancy Drew. My next childhood recollection of using the library was in high school and standing in front of the card catalog trying to find books that would help me in my research projects. I did not use the library for personal reading material at that time.
After college I took a major hiatus from reading. I discovered a love of cooking and poured over cooking magazines as well as cookbooks. I really did not step foot again in the library until I had children of my own. Because I have always loved books — I gravitated toward reading to my children when they were mere infants (I think I started when they were about 6 weeks old). I quickly discovered that I was spending far too much money on children’s books, so as a way to stay within budget, I used the library for their books (although I rarely thought of selecting books for me when we went for our bi-weekly visits).
It really wasn’t until I started teaching 7 years ago that I reacquainted myself with the library – and now I must say that I almost consider it my second home. I usually go to the library a minimum of 2 times a week, not to browse (as I would at the local coffeehouse/bookstore), but rather to pick up books that I have placed on hold from the comfort of my home computer. I rarely stay at the library for any length of time – but I do spend quite a bit of time “browsing” the catalog on the internet.
I have a rather elaborate selection process for adding books to my own personal library. First, I find books that I am interested in reading either from your inspirational book blogs, or from Amazon’s recommendation of “others who bought this book also bought….”. I log onto the library’s website from my home computer and reserve the books. The library notifies me by email when they are available for pick up – and I will then go into the library, pick them up and leave within 5 minutes time. After skimming the books I can tell if this is truly a book that I know I will love and will want to add to my personal collection (in which case it is added to my very lengthy “to buy” list which I carry in my purse at all times) OR it is a book that I know I want to read, but not sure I need to purchase (in which case I will make time to read within the specified 3 week lending period) OR it is a book that I do not think I want to read at the moment (in which case it will be returned to the library on my next visit).
As far as the aesthetic look of a library? I don’t think I have a preference. Most libraries that I frequent are circa 1970s. I think as long as the library is clean, well-maintained, and conducive to a learning environment, I would be comfortable.