Saturday, March 6, 2010


1 a : a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but not for sale
2: one of my favorite places on earth

Do you love the library as much as I do? I love going there alone, with my husband, with my daughters. A nice, long solo trip leaves me feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to read. Even a quick trip is satisfying because it normally signifies that a long-awaited book has become available and is sitting on the hold shelf with my very own name on it.

When I was working to get everything ready prior to my surgery, I washed every article of clothing, I swept, I mopped, I cooked extra food to freeze... and I made time for one last trip to the library to stock up on books. How else were my daughters going to make it through my recovery? And what was I supposed to do while stuck on the sofa or in bed for weeks other than read?

This obsession with the library isn't entirely selfish. My daughters need their book fix as much (or more?) than I do. That pre-op trip to the library lasted a few weeks, but one of the first trips we made once I was able to drive was to the downtown library.

There's just something special about a place filled with books - picture books, chapter books, novels, books we've read before, books by authors we love, books we've never seen before that very trip to the library. There's nothing quite like walking out with a huge stack of books without paying a dime. And the anticipation! When we leave the library, the girls immediately crack open a book and read on the drive home, however long or short it may be. Frankly, if I weren't normally the one driving, I would probably join them.

As I thought back to our recent trip to the library and how very satisfied it left us, I read up a little on libraries. They've been around for a while: about 50 centuries (yes, you read that right - there were libraries in Sumer) and about 16 centuries as we now know them (thank you, ancient Greeks). Clearly, I'm not the first person to realize that a book shared is the best kind of book.

My love of the library is one of the things that keeps me living in a city. While there are many advantages to small town life, a fully stocked library is rarely one of them. I almost never try to request a book from our library only to find they don't own it. In fact, I can often request a copy of a book before it's ever published, so that I'm one of the first to receive a copy once the book is purchased and processed.

I often end posts by trying to analyze why I think or feel a certain way. But I am completely comfortable with this particular quality: there is absolutely nothing wrong with loving the library. So in lieu of any profound thoughts, I will share with you the list of books in my hold queue from the library. Sadly, we can only have ten books on hold. (Don't tell, but I often cheat by putting holds on books via my husband's less used account...)

One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich

Lighting their fires : raising extraordinary kids in a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world

Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia

The book of Genesis / illustrated by R. Crumb

The lost conspiracy

Winter garden

Secrets of Eden : a novel

The man from Beijing

Beatrice and Virgil

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

What's on your to-read list???

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