This post is dedicated to my oldest-younger sister Claire, who starts library school in the fall. Her first-quarter classes are ‘The Art of Shushing’, ‘How to Look Stern in Glasses’, and ‘Book-Cart Maintenance, or, The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease’.
Hooray for the library! I was at my local branch today (soon to re-open in a building bigger than a trailer home — hooray!) and they were out of plastic bags for the rest of the year (budget issues). Reminder: Bring your own bag, and bring in some extra plastic bags if you have them laying around.
Did you know that you can help your library in it’s literary mission? Donate your gently used materials, volunteer, pay your fines, or even save random stickers for their sticker baskets.
A small rabbit-trail story: One of the libraries I frequented as a child had a librarian who always wore a flower in her hair. She had also been my mother’s librarian and had worn flowers in her hair every day for as long as anyone knew. In my crazy mind I somehow invented a story that this librarian and her husband had been trapped in a concentration camp together, and he promised her that if they ever got out he would bring her a fresh flower every day. I believed this story until just a few years ago, when some logical inconsistencies began to bother me (namely, that this lady is not old enough to have had a husband and also been in a concentration camp at the same time). I asked my mother, and to my horror (but not total shock; things like this have happened to me before) learned that this whole backstory was false. She wears a flower every day. That much is true. The rest? Courtesy of my brain. Moral of the story: If I tell you something that’s too romantic to be true, my brain probably made it up and tricked me into believing it.
Okay, back to libraries and how awesome they are. Instead of highlighting specific titles, today I’ll mention some fabulous amenities.
1. So many books about (insert random subject)!
Use the Dewey Decimal System chart to find the area where books related to your area of interest are shelved. Go to that area. Get really excited to find all these great sources! Calm down and remember you need to haul them all home by your own power. Pick and choose, and give your arms a good workout. Repeat at will.
2. Free printing!
Obviously this varies from system to system, but my library offers free printing, up to 70 pages a week. It’s all black and white, and text-only documents work best, but this saved me a bundle in college.
3. Books for sale!
Many libraries have a shelf of materials for sale at low, low prices, and the proceeds go to the library foundation (see above re; budget issues). Recently I picked up another cookbook, one I’ve long had on that mental list of “would be nice to own”, for fifty cents. What desired tome is this? Why, it’s the vegetarian classic, The Moosewood Cookbook! A first edition! For fifty cents!
In summary (sounds like I’m a 5th grader writing a report here), your local library has so much more than just the latest issue of Seventeen. There are seminars (home-brewing, anyone?), classes, services, community resources, and of course, stern librarians. So keep it “quiet so the pages can be heard, and do it for the love of the word”.