The Wonder of Libraries

“Librarian Hamster questions your ability to survive in the wild.”

So, today after work I stopped off at my local library to pick up Bed of Roses which I had on hold. And while there I scored big time. They had Storm’s Heart by Thea Harrison. Oh yeah!

See, I LOVED Dragon Bound but was hesitant about the second book. But then Books 3 & 4 sounded awesome and I HATE reading series out of order even if these can be stand-alones. And THEN I read the novella, True Colors, which was very, very good and increased my need to try the other books. So, long story long, finding Book 2 at the library is the perfect solution to my dilemma. 😀

I also borrowed a bunch of other books who’s price points were making me squirm but that I really wanted to read but $9.99 for an ebook?! An ebook for a book that’s been out for like a decade than I could get for pennies used? o_O

This is why I love the public library and one of the many reasons Ben Franklin has earned my eternal devotion. (He invented the public library, dontchaknow. I had to read his autobiography for a class at Cal and found him to be quite an odd little man).

I’m a bit of a late convert to public libraries. Mom never took us to the library as kids, she just always used to buy whatever books we wanted. She’s a big reader herself and never balked at buying books. I remember when my sis was preggers and stuck at home with nothing to do but create life, Mom took me to B&N and forked over probably at least $100 for all the books my teenage self had picked out for Pregnant Sister (and with no regard to cost). That was pretty awesome of her, I must say.

It wasn’t until I was supporting myself and trying to maintain a voracious reading habit on little better than minimum wage that I started to think, “Hey, there’s a library down the block. Why do I keep spending money on books I’m not sure I will like?” And then once I started borrowing I couldn’t stop. All the books, as many as I wanted! As many as I could cart home with me! Libraries, who knew?

And then I moved to Berkeley for two years and discovered the historical Berkeley public library.

If you’re ever in that area I highly recommend wandering down even just to look at the building. It’s lime green with Egyptian-esque molding outside.

And inside? Paradise.

Five Stories of information at your fingertips: books and CDs and magazines and movies. Oh my. Did I mention this was all within walking distance of my front door AND campus? Also, they had one of the best Romance collections, there was hardly ever a new release I wanted that they didn’t have. Leaving that library was one of my biggest regrets about leaving Berkeley.

I must admit, though, I briefly strayed back to book buying when I got the new job and started making something resembling a living wage. Also, my Graduation Kindle was so convenient paper books just lost their luster.

But now, with at least three big expenditures coming up in the next few months I’ve realized I should tighten the old belt and not pay +$10 for a book I can get for free at the library.

And public libraries? Well, they hold no grudges. They were there, waiting for me to remember their awesomeness, ready to welcome me back to the fold with open arms– or would that be open book covers?

So, what about you? Are you a public library gal or do you prefer to buy? Mix of both?

Soundtrack to this post: “Stand by Me“– Ben E. King

Art: “Library Hamster” by Ursula Vernon

March 8, 2012

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