Saturday, 9 June 2007

And so it begins - a tribute to public libraries

I have been inspired to start this blog by Juli who is knitting a scarf for me as part of ISE4. Juli's set herself a reading challenge; I'm already doing a lot of reading because I spend 2 1/2 hours a day on public transport and it is getting too crowded to knit en route - I can read standing up with one hand holding onto a seat back using the book as a barrier between me and my fellow commuter's armpit. Plus I love reading anyway.

When we moved into our house the removalists called us back twice to confirm the number of bookcases we had (10). We have since acquired more. Both my husband and I have stacks of books on either side of our bed - he heavy philosophical and Judaic tonnes (with the occasional fantasy fiction), me a stack of sci-fi, murder mystery and literary novels. We have most of my parents' book collection as well. Bookstores are our weakness. We really do not have either the finances or space to continue our indulgence. I've tried to cull some of my books; those that I either never will read or never will read again. It's a painful process that barely makes a dint on the piles. It is only half-jokingly that we have discussed getting accreditation as a library.

I recently rediscovered the local library after a 10 year's absence and have found it a wonderful way to indulge in my book materialism without losing control of my finances or personal space. If I make a wrong choice, it can be returned the next week, no questions asked. I can indulge guilt-free in books I would never want as part of my permanent collection. I can catch-up on literature that despite my voracious reading habit I somehow never read.

And modern technology just makes the process even easier - I can search the catalogue online, I receive reminders by email to return books 3 days before they are due and can even renew most of my borrowings online without leaving home.

But most weeks I find an excuse to visit the library and never leave empty-handed. I can reserve the latest releases for a mere $1.70 - far cheaper than purchasing a new book - but have yet to do so; there are so many great older ones to catch up on.

In short, I love the library. I want this blog to be a tribute to one of the last bastions of free entertainment and education remaining in society.

1 comment:

Sheep Rustler said...

We've got 19 bookcases and extra piles of books teetering in places!