I used to work literally steps away from a branch of the local library (the branch shared our building). I loved it, and made great use of it’s convenient location – I always had piles of books checked out, and I’d reserve books constantly. The ease of finding them in their online catalog and placing a request on it, to then have it arrive at what was basically my door? Glorious.
I don’t work there any more, and I’ve had to retrain myself and my library reserve habits. Now I have to carefully plan when I’ll put books on reserve; with only visiting the library every three weeks it requires precision timing so that reserves don’t expire before I can pick them up (incurring much sadness from me, plus a $2 fine per book.)
What hasn’t changed is the rush I get walking into the library and picking up my holds – it’s like shopping but better, because I only have to pay once and I get free access the rest of the year. Learning that for an annual fee I could have access to the larger and better metropolitan library system of the big city I live outside of was a fantastic discovery; no more limitations of my smaller suburban system.
It’s not perfect though. I’d never put a name to it, but I definitely suffer from the “Tyranny of the Library” as my own books sit, waiting for me to get to them. Without due dates they are constantly shuffled to the bottom of the stack. My last visit I brought home ten new books, and three of them were “I must start this right now!!!” exciting. And urgent, because two of them have lengthy holds lists so I’ll never be able to renew them, so they’ve got to be ready to return on time.
Do you love your library? How do you juggle reading personal books and library books?
photo credit: Amadeus ex Machina