Friday, November 4, 2011

On Libraries

When I was living in Brooklyn, I used the public library a lot. The Brooklyn Public Library has an amazing selection. I've been working on reading books from every country in the world, and I could usually find what I was looking for at BPL. My local branch was a 3 minute walk from my apartment, and there was another branch about a mile away. If I couldn't find what I wanted at either of those locations, I just put in a request and within a few days The Map of Love was on its way to me (& can be on its way to you through that affiliate link!).

Unfortunately, I am no longer in Brooklyn. I graduate from law school and am now jobless. I moved back to Florida to do a temporary post-graduate fellowship. I'll take the Florida bar exam in February, and hopefully I'll eventually be able to find a job in one state or the other.

Fortunately, there is a library very close to where I live (which is also very close to my fellowship placement). Unfortunately, the selection is rather... uninspiring. I hear about all these great books on twitter or on book blogs, and I want to read them. I check at the library, and they aren't there. I try to tell myself that this is to be expected. I live in a small town that skews toward Nora Roberts and James Patterson readers. My tastes are a bit more eclectic.

However, I need to stop complaining. You know why? At least I have a library very close to me. And they may not have everything I want, but they still have books. This is the stack I currently have checked out:
My current library loot
That's Toni Morrison's A Mercy on audiobook, both Persepolis volumes by Marjane Satrapi, Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (another graphic novel), Ali Shaw's The Girl with Glass Feet, and Mr. Fox, Helen Oyeyemi's newest book.

Yes, I did have to request some of these from other branches. Yes, the hold system is clunky and outdated. But the books came in quickly, and the librarian actually called me and told me when they came in. How cute!

Speaking of the librarians, they are just so darn nice. As much as I loved the BPL, the librarians I encountered were, well, Not Nice. Have you read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? Remember the librarian who never looked up at Francie, even though she checked out a book every day? Yeah. I think the current BPL librarians are her direct descendants.

And finally, you can't beat the view from the second floor reading area of my library. Gorgeous!

View from library window of the Intracoastal waterway
The Intracoastal Waterway


Rayna said...

That's a lovely stack of books!

Since I moved in September, I've been trying to use my new library as much as I can, and I've started volunteering there as well. I've had similar experiences with disappointment over books I want being unavailable.... But I'm trying to use it as an opportunity to wander the shelves and find books more spontaneously.

MJ said...

@RaynaRayns, I like your style ;-)

While I requested two of those in the stack, the rest were found by wandering. For some reason, though, I find wandering in libraries less satisfying or productive than wandering in bookstores. I'm still trying to figure out why that is.