In A Time of Libraries

Sunday, July 21, 2013
“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” ― Anne Herbert 

There are two things that are almost solely responsible for my cultural development: the library and the radio.

As a young girl, the library feed my ferocious reading appetite as I checked out every Baby-Sitters Club book the local library had, along with anything else that caught my fancy. During my teenage years, the local library served both as my office (where we held many the creative/planning meeting for the radio show I co-produced during high school) and also where I dipped my toe into teen culture (thanks Teen People) and developed hobbies I still have today as I perused the latest issue of Fine Cooking. Even in college, the library was where I went, equipped with a huge mug of tea, to finish term papers I'd neglected until the last minute as well as to check out the occasional "for fun" book.

But despite being the library's number one fan, I've been absent from the local library in recent years. Lately, the only time I've popped into the library was to pick up a DVD on a winter day, when a storm is predicted and there are no Netflix on the immediate horizon. I'm not sure why I've been abandoning the library. Perhaps it just feels like one too many errands to run on a busy town trip. Perhaps I had  a lot of angst about the 28 day check out time not being long enough to finish a book.

I've also been falling into the trap of buying my books . . . all of them. Blame it on Amazon, or something, but I've been stuck in the mindset for a while that if I want to read a book, I need to buy it. Certainly there are books that should be purchased because they'll be read over and over again (Game of Thrones, A Discovery of Witches, etc.) but a lot of the books I've purchased in the last few years are destined to be read once, then occasionally leafed through before being donated or sold to Half Price books. And speaking of Half Price books, I have so many books I've grabbed from the clearance rack at Half Price that I may never finish, or even start. (*cough* Pilgrim at Tinker Creek *cough*) While I love to surround myself with books, lately it's been coming apparent that it's time to relearn the difference between books to buy and books to borrow.

So I'm trying to re-incorporate the library into my daily life. Last week when I wanted a book on running and Andy wanted a book on the Storm King Mountain tragedy which I thought my parents had but didn't, I did a quick search of the local library's catalog and realized I could find exactly what I was looking for in a 2 minute stop to the library. Could it be easier?

There's something so cathartic about the library. It's quiet. It's organized. It's always there when you need it. As I checked out my admittedly slim stack of books I wondered why it had taken me so long to come back.

Do you use the library? 


  1. Oh I am going to be saving that quote! As a kid I had only an average love of the library (went maybe once a week) but as an adult I am a full-on library fiend. I don't actually like to own books or magazines, so it works out well :) I usually have things sent from other libraries and pick them up a few times a week. They all know me there haha. Love this post!

  2. There is something magical about the library... but admittedly, I haven't been in many years. The last couple are easy to explain away- new city, busy life, etc. But before that? I am not sure... I still read, but I too have been in the habit of purchasing my book (weather in physical form or over kindle).
    Lately I've taken up reading classic books to the little one - right now we are working on Treasure Island. In all honestly she doesn't yet understand what I am reading, but I still think it is an important habit to develop starting now....Anyways, I think it would make sense for me to start visiting a library with her. Hmmmmm.... now you have me thinking!


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