Top Ten Reasons I Love My Library
It’s a rainy Wednesday evening so what better time to honour society’s greatest service, the public library.
Top Ten prompts from the Broke and the Bookish.
1. Unlimited Borrowing
Sometimes quantity is better than quality. Although it doesn’t necessarily exclude quality. Being not as fabulously wealthy as I would wish, I channel my compulsive hoarding urge into borrowing large numbers of library items. I am actually almost incapable of entering a library without borrowing something.
2. It’s Free!
Leading on from quantity over quality, the fact that it costs nothing to belong to the library (aside from some piddling tax contribution), means that I can borrow anything I fancy and there are no regrets! Borrowing a book that I’m not sure of is so much more reassuring than committing cold, hard cash and then realising that the book is not for me. It also allows me to scoop up anything that looks even remotely interesting, which has led to some delightful discoveries (There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby : Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya and Diving Belles by Lucy Wood spring to mind).
3. The Range
A big building full of books, part of a network of buildings full of books, constantly adding new books. It’s the greatest. I’m checking out my check out history (lol) as I write this and in the last year or so I’ve borrowed books about cross stitch, DNA, flight attendants’ uniforms, Japanese gardens and Cirque du Soleil.
4. Library Items Other Than Books
After seeing Mrs Dalloway mentioned in several novels, I borrowed the book, and then found the movie The Hours, the plot lines of which all revolve around Mrs Dalloway, and then while looking for the soundtrack of The Hours, discovered that my local library had a large collection of sheet music, including selections from Philip Glass’ soundtrack to The Hours.
That book you want not at your local library? Who cares! Put it on hold, let someone else hunt it down, drive it over and then email you to let you know that it’s there waiting for you at the library of your choice.
6. Shelf Fossicking
I used to love doing this as a kid, and I’ve recently rediscovered the joys of picking a random shelf in a section that I’d not normally frequent and having a good rummage around. Particularly bountiful shelves at my local include the mish mash that is the literature/literary biography/other works by famous authors/miscellaneous shelves (The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Reading Lolita in Tehran : a Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi, The Family Law by Benjamin Law, and Memoirs of a Novelist by Virginia Woolf), and the biography section (Some Like It Hot : Me, Marilyn and the Movie by Tony Curtis, The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss, and The Paper Garden : Mrs Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 by Molly Peacock).
7. Borrowing Books For Different Reasons
I recently borrowed One Thousand and One Nights : a New Re-Imagining by Hanan al-Shaykh, just because I liked the cover art. I regularly search for books that are small enough to fit in my handbag so that I can read them on the train (eg. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford, H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, A Week at the Airport : a Heathrow Diary by Alain De Botton).
8. Jumping on the Bandwagon, Eventually
I read Gone Girl, eventually. I watched Gone Girl, eventually. I read Before I Go To Sleep, eventually. I’ll read The Girl on the Train, eventually. I’m 124 people from watching Spectre. It’s the ultimate set and forget.
9. No Judgement
Although I do rather miss the days of librarians doing more than fixing the photocopier and re-shelving books (I’m sure they do more than that, but that appears to be what they get stuck doing most of the time), self-scanning check outs means that no-one can raise a judgemental eyebrow when I borrow Ouran High School Host Club, Miranda Hart’s Maracattack and The Affair of the Poisons : Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV by Anne Somerset.
10. I Just Love It So Much
It’s quiet, it’s warm, the lighting is good. Books smell nice. You can sit in a comfy chair and read the newspaper or a magazine. You can use the internet for free. You can borrow books, cds, dvds, graphic novels, video games, sheet music and audio books. People go there and get help with school work or with computers. Kids have story time. No one is angry (except when the photocopier doesn’t work but you can’t blame the library for that) and everyone is chill.
Libraries, they’re awesome!