A few days ago, I went to the library to pick up a book (“Nine Black Doves: volume 5, the collected stories of Roger Zelazny”) I’d requested. When I’d looked it up online, I found it wasn’t in my local library’s collection, so I searched in the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium’s catalog, but it wasn’t there either. Not to worry – the Commonwealth Catalogue links to every library in the entire state of Massachusetts! Sure enough, I found not one but two copies of the book, requested it, and in a couple days’ time got the email notice it was in at my local library waiting for me.
So that day, as I say, I went to the library to get it. Smiled at a little girl in mom’s arms leaving as I headed to the front door; chatted a bit with the librarian as I checked out; walked out with a big smile on my face…
And realized, by golly, every time I go to the library it makes me happy. It’s my happy place.
I also go to the library 5 days a week, but it’s a hospital library where I work. I go to the public library about twice a week. There are times I can’t wait to get home and read the books I picked. Truthfully, I’m happiest when I am reading a book.
Not necessarily. We’ve had homeless people pass out in the chairs. One guy was drunk on generic mouthwash and soiled the chair. Parents drop their kids off and expect the library staff to keep an eye on them all day. Teens get into fights after school, and one security guy found a couple doing a standup in the book stacks.
A lot of weirdos pass through, but most are harmless. Our library is warm in winter, cool in summer, and is centrally located in the city on a bus line.
But it can be a wonderful place, especially the kid’s section. Bright, airy, tons of books and tapes, and structured activities for the little ones.
Two years ago we were library of the Year for the US.
My city library has a main facility, which is downtown, and two branches. I volunteer at one and sometimes to go a meetup at the other; the one that has the meetup also has a trailer in the parking lot marked “POLICE SUBSTATION” and it’s staffed at random times. That branch has had issues with children who live in the small but Very Bad Neighborhood adjoining the library; I’ve witnessed some of it, and it’s been committed by very young kids, as in 8 or less, and they are always on their own, with no adults or even older kids around. These children steal, vandalize, bother patrons, etc. but there’s not as much of it now that word has gotten around that they can’t get away with it.
That neighborhood has become bad because some idiot bought up a bunch of apartment buildings, and lets anyone move in as long as the cash is green. You can tell which buildings these are, because they don’t look safe for human habitation, but people live there anyway. There’s no way they could be remodeled; when and if those people move out, they will have to be demolished.
Every time there’s a school vacation in my old town, that library puts out a notice that they are NOT a free babysitting service. They will not hesitate to call CPS if they catch anyone doing this.
When I was younger, one of my fantasies was to get locked in a library overnight so I could have the whole darn place to myself.
Before I moved to Tacoma, I lived just a couple blocks from a library and spent quite a bit of time there. Even volunteered for a bit. Nowadays I generally read e-books through our library system website and skip the trip to the actual place. But it’s nice to know they are there should I get the urge to visit one.
I used to use the computers at the library I used to go to all the time and one of the things that bothered me was people who would eat stuff while they were on them. No, I don’t want to use that keyboard after you’ve gotten greasy, slobbery Doritos dust all over it. No one else wants to either. I even caught one guy who had gotten a package of bologna from the dollar store across the street and was using his pocket knife to cut it up and eat it while on the computer. Ugh!
That library system was very generous in the number of copies you could print for free. 70 black and white pages a week or 35 (I think) color ones. That might have changed since I left though.
When our daughter, Rosalee, was eight years old, her mother passed away.
After school, she would walk to the library. I would pick her up, after I got off work, 90 minutes later. Being a small town the library staff knew our situation.
Rosalee won awards for the most books read in a summer vacation. And to this day, 30 years later, she is an avid reader. Thanks to the library and staff. You can’t imagine how much I appreciate, love what they did for us. And the world is a better place.
One time I was leaving Iraq and we passed through Kuwait. The camp had its own library. After a year of living in the desert I was so happy to have a library. I spent hours and hours in there, killing time until my flight.
I love our library system. When I had the cast on my arm, and in the bad time afterwards, the librarians got to know me and really help me though it. The joys of having somewhere to go and something to do every day were wonderful. And to be able to help the library by buying cheap books at a time I felt helpless!
A great book on the subject is Free For All. I got it off of our library’s free shelf!