Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hold Happy

Let me tell you about my relationship with the library.

My mom did the mom thing with regards to the library. I participated in the summer reading program, checked out a million and a half picture books and cut my reading teeth in the children's biography section. I moved up to the adult library with my mom's permission and started in on the (at that time, tiny) young adult fiction section.

I would have lived at the library if they had a kitchen. As I grew older in school, I became more and more attached to my school library. I honestly think I read just about every fiction book my high school library held.

When I got to college in Kansas, I was enamoured of their lovely, spacious, amazing library, but I was terribly disappointed by the stacks. It wasn't that it wasn't a good library, it's just that academic libraries are so focused on academia and there just wasn't much fiction around. It was during this period that my adoration turned toward bookstores.

I love a good bookstore and have had many, many dates in my life that consisted solely of dinner and the bookstore. Kansas had a fabulous Borders and a lovely Barnes and Noble, and Lexington, which is the large town near me now has one of the best small booksellers in the nation. Just ask Alton Brown.

I have spent many an hour in these stores, browsing and reading and trying to make a decision already. I love the feel of a bookstore, the luxury of a good bookstore. And I love to buy a book, to take it home and know that it is entirely mine.

So, when our personal finances started to crash a couple of years ago, and books had to become a smaller portion of our budget, it was with some reluctance that I returned to the hallowed library halls. I had been taking Brynna there for a few months, but had yet to really seek out anything for myself.

In the past couple of years, our budget has not loosened any, has in fact, tightened significantly, but if there is any good to be had in that trauma, it is that I have rekindled my love affair with the library.

I love that I can take as many books as I want, not as many as my budget allows. I love that I can take a book that I don't know beyond a shadow of a doubt I'll love, because if I hate it, I'll just take it back. No biggie. I love that if they don't have something, I can request it, via Interlibrary loan and they will find it for me. But most of all, most of all, I love the online hold request.

For the uninitiated, the entire library catalog is online and when you search for a book, you will have the option of requesting a hold for that book. If the book is currently in, they will pull it for you and put it at the hold shelf. If it is not in, they will call you when it is in. Can I repeat that, they find it for you. It doesn't matter if it's in the large print section or the paperback section, they will find it for you and call you. All you have to do is drive there and know your own name.

I'm not sure I could live without this now that I have become accustomed to it.

Only last week, well, last week, I searched for about a million books on the website and none of them were in. So, I placed holds on all of them. All of them. So now, I am a little overwhelmed. I have more books than I have time and two of them can't be renewed.

Which means that I should be reading right now. Except that I also should be cooking supper, crocheting and getting some work done. Oh, and laundry. I pretty much should always be doing laundry.

Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Suze said...

We have an awesome public library system here, and the online hold thing is the BEST. I even paid for a year's access to teh University library so I can check out scores and academic stuff and access the music library when I need to (which isn't often, but worth it for the $30 annual fee).
I have a weakness for buying knitting books but otherwise check everything out from the library. It's like free shopping. And then I don't have to find a place for a new book in my small, small house.