How's your public library doing? Do you even know? Do you have a library card? What sorts of programs do they offer?
If you don't use the library, why not? Are Kindles (et al) replacing our local book lenders as well as bookstores? Should we even try to maintain large book collections for the public? Should the library system be revamped somehow?
I love the idea of libraries, but I don't use mine that often. I recently went to pick-up some forms, but it has been a while since I brought a book home.
My library has lectures and speakers sometimes. I always think I'm going to go, but haven't yet. They are going to have a Folk Singing night in a couple of weeks...maybe I'll go to that.
Back when I was living in one place, I spent quite a bit of time in the library. Now that I move around all the time I rarely go to a Library. When I am staying on a Military instalation I usually do go to the library. They are used to dealing with people on the move. Most libraries are for, and supported by, people who live in the area. They don't really want to deal with people who are not part of the community. For all the talk about us being a mobile society, we really aren't. I'm not complaining, just making a comment about how things work. Since public libraries are supported by taxing the local population, it seems only right that that is who they serve.
The last time I went to the library was when my computer was in the shop. Thank goodness for public computers at the library!
The library here has events and programs too, but I don't go to any of them. I've had a library card since George and I moved to this community, but we usually buy our books and don't borrow them from the library.
I am lifetime member of my local library. They have books, computors, DVDs, VHS, restrooms, Justice of the Peace Office and free WiFi in the parking lot 24 hours a day.
It's good to see that some people are still using them. I think I still have a couple of books out from about 1990.
I got my first library card before first grade. The only requirement for me was to be able to write my own name. Since then, books have been my drug of choice.
I remember walking all the way to library by myself to check out an armload of books, going home, and sitting on the porch reading until it got dark. The only street I had to cross at the time was the one in front of our house, but the distance was about three city blocks. It was right next to the kindergarten building where I went to school and the librarian was the sister of my teacher. I must have read every picture book they had.
After we moved to Seattle, the library was much further away, but I still walked there by myself as a third-grader. It was more than a mile away, but times were different then for younger children and my parents weren't afraid for me and I was a determined child. So long as I was home by dinner, they didn't worry much about me. And I certainly never got lost which seemed to me to be the biggest fear of my sisters. I remember waiting for the newest Mary Poppins books to hit the shelves. I loved all the fairy tales and fantasy but also I taught myself to knit from a book in the library when I was 11. I loved Freddie books and the Little House books and all the Andrew Lang colored fairy books that I'm now buying from the Folio Society for my grandson who is totally into "Grimm" and "Once Upon a Time" on television.
When I got to junior high, my tastes wandered to science fiction, but there weren't many fantasy/sci fi books in the library and gradually I started reading the books required for school.
In high school, I varied my reading with books chosen from the shelves for no particular reason. For a while I read fiction by authors whose last names began with the letter G. I discovered Graham Greene, Rumer and Jon Godden, and Elizabeth Goudge, authors whom I appreciate to this day. The library was the social hub of my life in the evenings, but when an older guy followed me home one night in his car, my dad bought me a set of encyclopedia so I wouldn't have to stay out too late to use reference materials. One night a gang from another school waited around outside for one of my library friends (who wisely stayed away that day).Crowds of kids gathered to see the fight that never happened. Editorials were written in the newspaper about rowdy students at the library. I laugh to remember how unrowdy we who were inside really were. Rowdy nerds. I was invited to be a library page, but had to refuse due to other obligations. My life would have been very different if I had accepted. It was one of those pivotal life moments.
In college, reading was work. I would carry a paperback of some non-required classic of literature around with me until it was finally read. I didn't use the library much for pleasure reading. It was where I did my studying and research for school. I met a woman who became a close friend for life (hers ended much too soon more than 35 years ago) while checking out reserved reading from the University of Washington Undergraduate Library. The winter and spring of 1966 I checked out Tolkien's ring trilogy from the UW library before it was available for sale as popular fiction. I lent my friend "The Hobbit" in paperback and forgot about it until she returned it to me almost 10 years later. That was the last time I saw her. I also liked to study in the Graduate Reading Room at Suzzallo Library. If you saw that Yahoo article on the 10 most beautiful libraries, you will know why.
The 70's were a bad time for adult fiction, IMHO. Too much whining. My children were starting school and I went back to work on my BA degree. A class in children's literature was a guilty pleasure for me and for a time I thought of becoming a children's librarian. We moved away before I could pursue that course of study, but by then I had already realized what a wealth of good reading there was in books that had been written with children as their primary audience.
In the 80's, I started reading fiction books in alphabetical order again, starting with authors whose names began with the letter "A". I discovered Edward Abbey and "The Monkeywrench Gang". Isaac Asimov had written many more books since I had first started reading science fiction. Other books whose authors' names are now forgotten (but beginning with "A") told stories about the Erie Canal and the whale fisheries during the waning years of that industry when coal and the railroads were overtaking it. I never would have chosen those books on my own without that compulsive rule that I was operating under at the time.
There were also mystery writers whose names began with "A". Margery Allingham, Catherine Aird, and Joan Aiken are three I can think of right away. I was hooked and when the library could not keep up with my addiction, I resorted to buying books from used book stores. I joined a mystery readers club and learned about other authors. I bought autographed hard covered books at mystery conventions. I was hard core. I bought new bookcases. I kept paperbacks in stacked plastic storage bins. I had to have the complete works of authors. My house was insulated by bookcases and decorated with books. I lived in a library. I still do.
Ten years ago, it all caught up with me. I couldn't stay awake to read in bed. I started driving to work so there was no reading on the bus. The mystery reader club met at night and I couldn't stay up that late. I started knitting more and reading less. It wasn't cold turkey, but somehow the lifestyle change cured my book-acquiring addiction. Or at least got it under control. I am no longer a binge book buyer.
I embarked upon a regimen to reverse my chronic health problem. As my health improved I could read again without falling asleep. Someone from my needle arts guild turned me on to Terry Pratchett and because there were no books in the library, I ended up acquiring his entire list through Amazon vendors. Of course, now the library has his books, but then, so do I. I read them over and over for the pleasure of the language.
And now the library has movies, and music, and talking books. And computers with free internet. And online reserve capabilities. The county library will even mail reserved books to county (as opposed to city) residents. How cool is that? Now, if I read about a book that is newly published by an author I already like or see for sale at Sam's Club, I get online and reserve it right away. I might be 146th in line for the latest Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovitch, but there are multiple copies and the wait is not that long.
Seattle and King County have great library systems and every time there is a levy to raise money for them it always passes. There has been some concern lately about unrestricted internet access and homeless people liking to spend their days there (I would too, if I were homeless), but by and large, my community is all about libraries for all. When I completely retire, I plan to get up at the same time as I do now and head off for coffee and then to the library where I will work on my own computer away from the distractions of home. I have plans to downsize my home library just to the books I love and use the public library for the periodicals and guilty pleasure new popular fiction.
There is a button that I bought at a bookstore once. It says "So many books. So little time." I will add to that "So little personal space."
I vote YES for libraries.
It is good to hear your adventures in reading! I thought I was the only little girl to latch onto Elizabeth Goudge. I couldn't get enough of her.
I too have been an avid reader most of my life. Really enjoyed reading about your reading.
Have you read "The Sparrow" by Mary Andria Doria? I consider it the best Science Fiction Book ever written. Or at least the best that I have ever read.
Slim, Elizabeth Goudge is the author I keep recommending the Folio Society to reprint. So far they haven't done even one, but I keep pitching her. My favorite novel of hers is "Pilgrim's Inn". A recent movie of "The Little White Horse" was very disappointing, but I bought it and then posted a bad review of it as an adaptation. It was an okay movie, but it wasn't Elizabeth.
Robbie, Thanks for the recommendation. I hadn't read "The Sparrow", but I got online at the Seattle Public Library and put a hold on it at that same branch where I spent so much time as a reader. I am number 1 in line.
Have you read "The Lathe of Heaven" by Ursula K. LeGuin? It was written in 1971 but took place in Portland, OR in 2002. It is definitely not "feel good" but very thought-provoking. It was a PBS movie a few years back but I didn't see it.
Baia, I read it years ago. However, my mind has dumped so much information over the years that I no longer even remember what it was about. I can probably read it again.(:>)
Quinn, Glad to see that I'm not the only one who often wants to spell magazines with an I instead of an a. (:>)
It's strange, but I could never get into Follett. I guess that if we all liked the same things there would be far fewer books. I like Jack Chalker who wrote "The Well World" series. It seems to now be out of print.
In the 3rd grade I got an award for checking out and reading 48 books. I see that wouldn't have touched Baia's record. I have got to spend less time on the computer and get back to reading. Of course as a homeless person I have trouble getting a library card. The Military Bases do give out temporary cards. I have one from Patrick AFB but haven't been there for over a year.
I get great comfort from knowing that some people still get excited about reading. Quinn you must have had an amazing childhood full of adventure!
It's so nice to crawl into a book and escape into a world of intrigue or knowledge.
As a kid, my mother took us kids to the city library every other Saturday (14 days was the check out period). i remember bringing home 6 or 8 books every time...whatever the limit was.
Up until recently, when the computer started vying for my time, I read a lot. I've always preferred to buy books, although I have gone through phases of using the local library. I can remember twice, in my early adult life, when I thinned out the books to the extent that I had maybe had 6 or 8 left. This was predicated by moving once, and getting married another time. I regret doing that, but of course, like most younger people, I really didn't think much about the consequences of my actions.
I've wandered into various niches over the years, but books of historical subjects have always been my main interest. Paralleling Q's interest in the Beatles, I have many, many books (and vinyl, and CDs) pertaining to The Stones.
Over the last year or so, I've been bogged down on reading. I bought a lot of terrible books on the Borders clearance table, before they closed up shop. I probably have ten or so of those books started, but not finished.
I've also bought, and read, everything I could find written by Michael Perry, and Lauri Anderson. These two guys write about the non-urban areas where they live, and the quirky people people who are their neighbors and family (kinda like I do on a much less successful level, when I report on the doings at the local places).
As I shift into retirement mode, and the reduced income that's coming with it, it certainly would make much better economic sense if I started using the library more often. However, I really feel that first, I should check out Amazon.com for a Swedish Atlas.....and a Swedish dictionary....and I see that the Stones have released a DVD of a concert from the late 1970s.....and........