I love libraries. If I could live in one, I would. A little cot in the back corner between the atlases and the autobiographies would suit me just fine.
The smell of the books. The cute little wooden carts for re-shelving. They way the photocopier never works. Gotta love it.
Did you know that libraries decide which books to keep based on how often they’re borrowed? A librarian I know surreptitiously checks out some of her favourite overlooked classics herself so they don’t end up on the discard list (to make room for new books).
So that’s what I did today, signed out a couple of books — one by an author I’ve read before and like very much (Anne Tyler) and another by someone brand new (Lawrence Block). So these volumes are safe, for the time being anyway.
My local branch is tiny, just one big room about the size of a high school gym. But it warmed my heart to see it packed with patrons on a cold, windy Monday.
There were seniors reading newspapers in the armchairs. Students parked at the computers. And so many people browsing the stacks that a man riding a motorized scooter had to say, “Excuse me,” every few feet to make his way to the large-print shelves.
He looked a little shaky, so I lurked behind him for a bit in case he needed help reaching for a book, but he managed perfectly well on his own.
I found out that the library accepts donations of recent books and magazines to sell near the entrance to help fund special programs. I’ll be bringing those on my next visit.
I’m always a little sad to leave the place. Guess I get homesick….
P.S. I heard this rendition of “We Shall Overcome” by Mahalia Jackson this weekend and it’s something else. Enjoy!