Elizabeth: The Call of the Library

When I was growing up the library was my favorite place in the world   I spent most of my summer vacations at the local South Branch library, reading my way (alphabetically, of course) through the children’s section and, once Ms Cook the librarian decided I was old enough, on through a curated portion of the “grown-up” section.

Fast forward a few decades to when my son was little when we spent countless hours at the local library, progressing from story-time and picture books, to chapter-books and beyond.  I still have his very first library card – a bright-orange card with a signature on the back that only one who had given birth to him could decipher.  I didn’t bother getting a library card of my own at that time, since I always had his with me.  Someone perusing the library records might have wondered why a six-year old was checking out romance novels, but no one seemed to mind.

Since that time, other than a period when I was doing research at my university library a number of years ago, I haven’t set foot inside a library for longer than I can remember, unless you count my own house which does, I’ll admit, bear a striking resemblance to a library.

What with free books from conferences, BookBub, and the like, along with inexpensive paperbacks that I have no problem encountering when I’m shopping (and I like to buy them to support the authors that write them), I have no lack of readily available reading material.  I probably have enough at hand to keep me occupied for a year or two at least.

But every Thursday, Jenny Crusie has her “Good Book Thursday” post where people talk about and recommend the books they’ve been reading.  A number of the books that have caught my attention in those posts seem to be out of print or at least I am unable to easily find them at a price I’m willing to pay for an unknown-to-me author, no matter how good the recommendation.

Enter the local library, where I took myself to last weekend and got a shiny new library card all of my own!

Libraries have changed a bit from the old days at the South Branch.  Among other things, there are now computer stations and you can check out DVDs and even board games.  There don’t seem to be as many books either, although maybe that is because the local library here is big and airy, where my old branch library started out its life as a two-bedroom one bath house.

One of the main differences, however, is the availability of eBooks.  Now I much prefer a physical book to an eBook, but I can hardly deny liking the convenience of logging into the library website, finding a book I want to read, and having it delivered straight to my Kindle app so I can start reading without ever having to leave the house (or put on shoes).

How easy is that?

The first thing I checked out was the steampunk adventure Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, the first book in her Finishing School series.  A random friend on Facebook has recommended her stories to me several times and, after I met Gail in person at the last RWA conference, I decided it was high time to give her a try.  The book was a great fun and I was disappointed to find out that the library doesn’t have the rest of the series (yet).  Fortunately, there’s always Amazon.

I’m looking forward to trying out a number of new-to-me authors, courtesy of the local library – when I’m not working on my own books, of course.  🙂

So, do you tend to be a book-borrower or a book-buyer?

While you think about that, here’s an inviting reading space, to get you in the right frame of mind.

3 thoughts on “Elizabeth: The Call of the Library

  1. Like you, I loved the library as a kid. The romance section nowadays isn’t sorted in any particular order, though, which makes it time-consuming to find a specific author. And since I spend most of my time reading books by friends and acquaintances in the romance world, I want to support them with a sale. I did just request Eleanor Oliphant is Falling Apart from the library–and promptly forgot to pick it up.

  2. I loved my library as a kid, too. It was so cool on a hot summer day! I’ve been a card holder all my life, sometimes in multiple cities at the same time. In fact, I just got an email to update my card for the library in my home town in Wisconsin.

    I don’t go to the library as much these days, though. For one thing, I have 635 books on my Kindle, many of which I will be happy to move off once I read a few pages. But the call of the free download is a hard one to resist. I am also intrigued by the recs that come in on Jenny’s Thursday post. I just downloaded and read Jane Doe because of the heavy recs there, and I hated it, so that’s a cautionary note about recommendations from those who don’t know you well.

    I still go to the library and my latest plan is to check out the ebook download situation. It seems like that should be easy enough. 🙂

  3. In my hometown, there were only two cool places in town during a summer weekday: the pool or the library. I couldn’t afford the movie theater (-:, and that was weekends only, anyway. I’ve always loved sitting in a library, surrounded by books.

    Even now . . . I don’t tend to borrow books because, well, I’m functionally illiterate in Japanese so even looking for a good book in my local libraries is difficult. But every town has a nice library with reading desks and a place to set up my computer. I love visiting them, and just being surrounded by books again. It’s very calming!

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