No, this post is not about some cute library clerk that I ran into or some hot and steamy rendezvous between the stacks. I simply have to say that I’m completely crushing on our local library system right now. See, previously, we used to go to the library and take out as many items as allowable , come home and be on information overload for about 48 hours. Then the books would sit. Our 21 days would go by. We’d start to get text reminders to return them. Finally, by the time we’d gather them all and get them back we’d have accumulated a fairly substantial fine. We were bad library patrons.
After Christmas I made it a point to pay off our current fine balance. One last missing book was found, an added bonus, and we were off and running. Today we’re almost fully recovered and are no longer making sizable, annual contributions to the library fine budget line. We have made at least 5 successful, maxed out trips to the library with $0 due.
As a result I have had the chance to fall in love with the library again! I’m a book addict. No, I don’t read a book each week. I don’t tear through the latest best seller in a couple of evenings. Admittedly, I spend what feels like very little time actually reading. I peruse instead. I love art and craft books (of course) and spend most of my time skimming for inspiration. More often than not I struggle to find a fiction book that I will actually finish. Regardless, one of my favorite things to spend money on is a new book to add to our personal library.
So, during a period when we’ve been trying very hard to manage a smart budget and eliminate a lot of excess spending the library as been cathartic. I can walk around the aisles and pick up anything I want. As long as we don’t stack up more than 50 items I can take every last one home with me. Urge for shopping? Completely satisfied. Thirst for copious amounts of information and inspiration? About to be quenched. The best part so far is that we’ve only been regularly visiting the branch closest to our house. So once we exhaust this collection we can either start requesting others or start jumping to one of the 27 others.
Now, again, I’m not reading every single book that’s coming off the shelf. A lot of them I’m bringing home just so I can take a more thorough look at them and decide if they need to be added to the personal library. A bunch have been deemed must-haves and been added to the amazon wish list (and that process just snowballs into a whole bunch more being added to the wishlist once the amazon recommendations kick in, right?).
With a Kindle it gets even better. I discovered the breadth of the library’s digital collection now, too. Audiobooks and ebooks at my fingertips. Getting ready to plan the garden? Hold on, let me see what I can get from the library. Every book I wanted on vertical gardening recently I was able to find and download instantly to the Kindle. Plus, you can have 50 digital checkouts on top of your 50 physical checkouts. Score!
We have probably ripped at least 50 CDs into our iTunes library, and 20+ audiobooks. We’re about to cancel our Audible.com subscription due to the great variety available throughout our library system. I haven’t been able to start listening to most of the books I’ve picked out yet. And that’s not all! (Now I sound like an infomercial)
There’s this awesome service called Zinio that provides free digital copies of magazines to library patrons. I have about 25 on my Kindle today. I basically went nuts one afternoon and started grabbing everything I could get my hands on – home decorating, knitting and crafting, even things like Games and Mental Floss. Believe it or not I even found Juxtapoz, a more underground art & culture zine. Some of them are old special issues but many are new and up to date and I get notices when the latest issue is available.
Lastly, just today, I discovered something that appears to be brand new. Book Bundles is (going to be) a subscription service provided by the library where, for $9.99 a month, they’ll deliver 3 selections to your door. The online application isn’t available yet but I’m watching for it. You fill out a questionnaire and get tailored selections of “books you didn’t even know you’d like”. Like Bryan said, it can be our own form of a book club. We’re going to re-purpose our Audible.com dollars for this subscription once available. I can’t wait to try it out.
So, I guess the long of it is, I’m a library geek. It’s pretty much a weekly trip for us at this point. I see people who have libraries within walking distance of their house who are lucky if they think to go more than once or twice a year – and never for something other than a kid’s school project or something. I’ll never understand. Thankfully.