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Friday, September 3, 2010

On libraries

Happy Friday, blog-readers!

Many of you probably already know that this is Library Card Sign-up Month. Many of you probably already have a library card, work at a library, or frequent a library.

Big confession time.

I've had a library card for most of my life. As a kid, I spent a ton of time in the library, both at school and at the public library. But around the time I got an income of my own, I stopped going to the library. It didn't seem convenient when I could just pop into a bookstore or order something online. The ease of buying cheap used books online made my habit even worse. I'd still buy the expensive hardcover when it was one of my favorite authors, but I never went to the library.

My husband and I have over a thousand books, which makes sense since he's a writer and I'm an editor. But we also live in a house that's less than a thousand square feet. You do the math. We have boxes and boxes and boxes of books stacked in the basement. We have books stuffed on top of books on the shelves upstairs. Our bedroom's bookshelf has books stacked three books deep. And our 2-year-old son seems to have inherited our problem--his books don't fit on his dedicated shelves.

Enter the library. We have a great library in our neighborhood of St. Paul. They have a children's storytime, lots of computers, friendly staff. I've had a library card here since we bought our house, but I hardly ever use it. Besides, though the library is great, the collection is fairly small. Easier to just order it online, right? Then I realized that I'd been missing the point. In the amount of time it takes to find a cheap used book online and buy it, I can request the same book at the library, have it delivered from another branch (if necessary), and walk through my cute neighborhood to pick it up. I was definitely patting myself on the back for that display of genius until I realized that everyone else already knew to do that.

So here's to library cards. For letting me try new authors and old favorites without committing to an investment of space and money. Let's face it--I'm still going to buy books. Obviously I'm going to continue to buy books. I work in publishing. I love books. But now I'll be able to justify my purchases even more and seek out even more new authors. Yay for library cards! I'm just sorry I'm so late to the party. Apparently I should behave more like my ten-year-old self more often.

Have a happy holiday weekend, and bring on autumn--I've got a ton of books waiting to be read.

more soon!

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