July 5, 2010 § 18 Comments
We’re splitting up. Things just aren’t working out for the two of us.
I’ve given the Public Library my best shot and the relationship is still coming up short.
True that in a relationship, there are typically “two” involved and neither party is, typically, solely to blame when things turn bad. However, I confess in my breakup with the library, it is largely my call, my decision although let it be said the Library did nothing to meet me halfway, to keep me, to try to make things right.
And so, the separation.
Allow me to explain; hear my side of the story. In an attempt to stave off any further and frequent purchases at my beloved fave bookstore, I have, over the past two months, been visiting the Library. Fortunate to have three branches in my live&work radius, I have benefitted from online book reserving, some research and, of course, borrowing, the latter being any Library’s major claim to fame.
Reportedly, you can borrow up to 99 books from the Library at any one time, as long as you aren’t taking several or many on one topic, thus sweeping the shelf clean of say, all books related to Teddy Roosevelt or fashion faux pas (two topics that indeed bedazzle this reader.)
I’d never take 99 out a time! Primarily because I couldn’t lug that many to my car nor keep track of them once home. As it is, I can end up with overdue fines sound enough to pay the Library’s electric bill. (But no, I haven’t done it in the past two months.)
However, a library card has a great resemblance to a credit card or gift card. Let’s emphasize the latter. And so over the past two months, I have been a bit unbridled in choosing books and walked out with as many as dozen at a time, with my visits being at least weekly.
Twelve books is not an unseemly number. The problem, however, lies in the two-week borrowing limit. And one or two of the 12 I might have borrowed in my “oh! look at this! Let’s see what this one’s all about!” sweep might have been 7-day loans. Because they’re new. Seven days!!!!
Yes, yes, I know you can renew books and of course it can be done on line. But the 12 books I might bring home seem to scatter: one in the living room for reading when the family is watching something in which I have no interest; one in the car, for those lunch hours where I have to leave the office and drive to the park and read on a park bench and breathe real air; one or two by the bed, leaning against the already “sturdy” TBR stack; one or two in my upstairs office for when I’m taking a break from writing or filing; several in the den, stacked on the coffee table and oh, another one in the car that slid under the seat when I wasn’t looking.
It’s difficult to round them all up when I’m trying to get them back to the Library on time, and here, the Library has no patience, does not offer the “give” required in any two-way relationship. Sigh.
I am grateful for the ability to renew, for the after-hours book-drop, for the selection, such as it is, for the library being open on Saturday. Still, it’s just … not… quite … enough. Somehow.
I cannot abide, at this time, the short loan time with no amnesty (though apparently, they offer one but just don’t publish when it will happen); nor the sometimes unsightly books offered for loan, particularly the soft covers that seem most prone to unidentified staining and wrinkling; the lack of read-and-lounge facilities including coffee and snacks (OK, that’s a silly plaint, but one I felt needed adding); and the overall sensation of having one’s hands on a lovely book but having to give it up, ultimately, to take it back, dropping it off on the counter among dozens of others as though it had little or no meaning to me, that is, returning a beloved book.
And so I have collected up this morning the half dozen that are the result of the last library sweep where I practiced some discipline rather than “shopping” as is my wont.
I will sort through them, find something from each that I can “keep” in some way, likely my jotting lines in my journal and I will take them back and slide them into the slot and not look back.
We’ll see how this temporary serious separation goes.
And maybe in a week or two or three of absence, we can come to better terms.
Or, maybe I’ll just whittle away at my TBR stack and render it reasonable, reading, thumbing, dog-earing, annotating those that are already mine, never having been bound to a library card.
But it’s all about books, and what bookaholic chooses reasonbleness?
(to be continued…)