I love public libraries.
I love that they’re free.
I love the employees at my library—they’re all funny, helpful, intellectual, and open-minded.
I love the books.
I love taking the books back to the library when I’m done with them, because then they don’t clog up my house, gather dust, and get musty till I throw them away 30 years from now.
Libraries also have DVDs, books on CD, newspapers, magazines, e-books for checkout, computers, guest speakers, and quiet little corners. I like all those things. And I like all of them free.
Unfortunately, I’m a slow reader, and when I am lucky enough to get a new book, I have to read it fast or it’s due before I can finish it. And when it’s a new book that others are waiting for, I can’t renew it!
Such is the case with the newest book from one of my favorite living American authors, Elizabeth Strout. I sat on the waiting list at my library to read The Burgess Boys, finally got the book 2 weeks ago, have read about half of it . . . and it’s due back at the library tomorrow and I can’t renew it because some other library patron is next on the waiting list.
(I undersold myself just now, by the way; I’m not that slow of a reader. But I always read several books at a time, and while I’ve been reading the Strout novel, I also finished two other books and started another.)
So, tomorrow The Burgess Boys will go back to the library, and I’ll go back to the waiting list.
I could buy the printed book, but then I wouldn’t have a place to put it when I’m done with it. I could give it away, but it’s hard to buy books for avid readers. For the most part, people who like to read, also like to choose their own books.
I could buy the e-book and download it to my Nook, but who wants to read a good book on an electronic screen? E-readers just aren’t my thing when I want to settle in for a really good read. I spend enough time staring at a screen when I’m at work.
If the worst thing that happens to me this week is that I have to return an unfinished book to my library, I guess I’m OK. It’s all good when it comes to good books.