Booking Through Thursday: Library Week

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The weekly Booking Through Thursday question for today is:

Suggested by Barbara:

I saw that National Library week is coming up in April [12-18], and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

Thanks for using my question!

I remember the thrill of getting my very own library card in elementary school. I don’t remember going to the library other than through school. When my children were small I wanted them to have that “thrill,” too. We went to the library from the days they were toddlers, took out heaps of books that they then wanted me to read to them the rest of the day. I loved it. They got library cards when they were old enough to clearly print their names. We went to some of the special programs (meeting Mr. McFeely at one. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was their main childhood program, so that was fun). We participated in every summer reading program.

They loved to be read to when they were younger, and my oldest loved to read for himself, but the younger two left off reading for pleasure. That makes me so sad — I think they’d enjoy it if they tried it again, but they both say they’re not a “reading kind of guy.” 😦 But, consequently, somewhere along the way we gradually stopped going to the library.

I worked in the university library while in college. I enjoyed studying there, particularly since I had access to a couple of quiet spots away from the crowd, but it was too busy then to wander around looking at books for pleasure. I do remember when I was being trained for the reference room that I was pretty scared of the responsibility of helping students find resources they needed (in the day before the Internet), but I also discovered the library had a wealth of resources that were probably unknown to most people. In my senior year they began building the new library, so it’s not recognizable to me any more.

I don’t go to the library much these days unless I am looking for a classic or trying out a new author. I read mostly Christian fiction, and most libraries aren’t current in that genre except for the best sellers, like the Left Behind and Mitford series.

There is something cozy about the older, darker libraries. If I were going to the library to sit down and read, I would prefer the old-fashioned kind. The sleek modern ones were a little intimidating to me at first — they just seemed so busy and bright and scattered. But I have gotten more used to them now and I love the efficiency of them. They still don’t seem very inviting to me, though. They seemed designed more to get your business done and get out.

My oldest likes to go to the coffeehouse bookstores. To him that’s a pleasant evening out. I haven’t really gone to them to sit down and read — I guess I am still not used to being able to take coffee over to a chair and pick out a book to read there. I’d be expecting someone to tell me food and drink aren’t allowed where they could be spilled on the merchandise (do they have a “you spill, you buy” policy, I wonder?), and I keep expecting someone to tap me on the shoulder and tell me if I am going to read the book, I need to go ahead and buy it. Usually when I go I know what I want, and I get it and leave. But if I wanted to check a book or author I was unsure of, I’d welcome the opportunity to sit down and read a little more extensively before deciding to buy the book. In that case I probably would check the library first.

I’ve just realized that I’ve lost that pleasurable strolling through aisles of books and discovering treasures. I remember finding books I really enjoyed just by looking around within a certain category. I should probably try that again — after I get my to-be-read stack whittled down.

There is another special memory the library holds for me: that’s where I met my husband. β™₯

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17 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Library Week

  1. Barbara, this was a great topic, given the fact April has Library Week. I’ll have to post my response later though. Thanks again for bringing this topic up.

  2. I feel the same way about the “food and drink aren’t allowed where they could be spilled on the merchandise”.
    I’m going to ask next time I go if they do have a policy like that.

    By the way this was a fun question.

  3. Give your public library another try! I’ve worked at our public library for 17 years and we’ve got many great books in the Christian fiction collection. A few authors that come to mind are: Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall, Terri Blackstock, Karen Kingsbury, etc. Plus…most libraries can get books via ILL. (eg. “holds”) for patrons, even if they do not own the item(s) themselves. I’ve been working in libraries since junior high school…and it’s also where I met my late husband. ❀

  4. So you were one of those folks who knew where everything was in the library in college, huh? I still have to ask for help quite often… But I love going to the library!

  5. I never really browse anymore at libraries. I usually have a list of books that I look up online a head of time and request they are held for me. Then, I just pick them up.

  6. After reading the responses to your great question this week, I’m feeling newly inspired to give my local library another try! I stopped going after my college education was all wrapped up — I started working in a chain bookstore and really took advantage of my employee discount to stock up! But, like everyone, money is tight… and if I can get over my apprehension about actually having to give back books I loved, the library could be awesome!

  7. I was such a magnet to libraries when I was young. I still remembered that sensation of getting my library card—that felt so privileged and special!

    I love reading my own books at the library these days! πŸ™‚ That said, I’m justified to visit my favorite bookstores almost every other day.

  8. I LOOOOOOOOVE libraries! OLD ones. I do not like the new libraries. We have a MONSTROUS new one down the road… I don’t use it. I go to the one UP the road. It’s just a wee little neighborhood library. But I don’t use it neeeeearly as much as I did when the kids were small! Like you, we participated in EVERY storytime, and attended EVERY special happening and indeed that was my smaller children’s first experience with group education! My children loved to be read to too. And as they grew they read for pleasure until they were about 10 – but then other things took over their liesure time to a larger degree and reading went out the window. Krysti has now returned to reading for pleasure. And Mathew has just recently started picking up books again — not novels – but he seems to be very much into the biographies of old rock stars! Derek has read a few of them too – but I think he’s still a ways from what we would really call a pleasure reader again. They DO come back to it though. If they enjoyed it as children, you’re probably pretty safe to think they’ll come back to it later in life. You know, I really didn’t read much in my teens and early adult years either… that’s a very busy time in life.

    I’m like you about the book store coffee shops too. I love to go in and browse the books — but I never pick one up to read while I’m there. I think that’s just the way were brought up. But Mathew – he’ll go into a Barnes & Noble or B. Dalton, and just pull a book off the shelf, sit down on the FLOOR, and start reading! He’s nuts! LOL!

    That was an excellent question Barbara! Had I known (and could I have fit it in today) I would have played!

  9. One summer day when I was six, I asked Gram to take me to the library. She said she was too busy, so I walked there all by myself. It was a mile and a half (no, I didn’t have permission). When I got to the library I was too little and too tired to open the big heavy doors. A man opened them for me.

    Into the the library I went and up the huge old staircase to the second floor. The steps were very high and it was a struggle to climb them, but I made it.

    The children’s librarian was also my Sunday School teacher. I said hello to her and went to pick out a book. With book firmly in hand I climbed up into the window seat, cuddled up on a big fluffy pillow, and went sound asleep.

    I awoke to Gram, shaking my shoulder. She was very upset with me. I don’t know what the big deal was. I was fine! But it was a long time before I got to walk to the library again, however, Gram made a point of taking me every week.

  10. I love the library AND the bookstore/coffee shop stores, although here in Vancouver (from the ones I’ve been in) you have to buy your books and go into the coffee shop – no taking your coffee into the bookstore. Wes and I used to use Barnes & Noble as a date night in Ft. Worth!

    Our library here is brand new, and I love it! It has the newer things, like self check-out, but it also has little reading areas set up, one with a fake fireplace – nice for atmosphere, anyway. And there’s a coffee shop right next door! I think they’ve made a great space there.

  11. You’ve submitted a great question, Barbara! Like you, I remembered the thrill of getting my very first school library card too. Then I took one step further and pestered my parents to sign me up at the state library as well. πŸ™‚

  12. I love the library. I’ve always been a voracious reader, although that became severely curtailed during college years and then with a small child around. I’ve been trying to get back into reading more over the past couple of years, though. When I was young, I always wanted to buy every book I could find. My father wisely told me to get it from the library first, and if I read it more than 3 times, then I could buy a copy. Poof! It made sense to me then, it still makes sense to me now, and is something I’ve pretty much followed.

    If there is a book I think sounds interesting, I always check the library for it first before looking to buy one. By the time I end up buying them, I rarely read them again anyway. Yet somehow, I still have more books in the house than a place to put them…

    Either you haven’t really checked your library much lately, or the selection is better here in my little county, because we have a *ton* of Christian fiction. I usually start out with a list of some authors/titles I would like to check out, but I also do the “let’s randomly pick out something and see if it is any good”. There have been a few duds, but also a number of authors I’ve really enjoyed that are now on my look-for-them list.

    I typically get the books and take them home to read, so the type of library doesn’t matter to me much. Our main and branch libraries all have little reading nooks carved out, though, for those who want to curl up and read in the building. No food or drinks allowed THERE!

    I tried reading one in the bookstore once, and it just felt too odd to me to sit down and read the book without paying for it when they are clearly there for purchase.

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