Monday, October 30, 2017

Library Love

Growing up, visiting my local public library was one of my favorite things to do. I was a voracious reader from the moment I learned to read, and the library opened up so many worlds to me.

We moved into town when I was in the 6th grade, and suddenly I could go to the library basically whenever I wanted. I walked, rode my bike, and eventually drove to the library constantly. I checked out every Baby-Sitters Club book ever and discovered Janette Oke and Gilbert Morris on the shelves of the adult section. (At the time, Christian books lived with all the other fiction books, but they were marked by a round sticker on the spine.)

During college, I didn't use a library for anything but research (the Grace College library) and checking out movies on the weekends (the Warsaw Community Public Library, which had a very distinct and unpleasant smell in the video area)—as an English major, I was doing so much assigned reading that I rarely had time to read for pleasure. But after college, I began frequenting my hometown library again.

And then I became a book blogger.

For the last nine years, I've been reviewing books here on Christian Chick's Thoughts, and for a large portion of that time, I've had so many review books on my shelf that I haven't had time to read other things.

I still have a massive review shelf, but I've drastically cut down on the number of books I request or agree to accept for review. About a year ago, I started buying books again—usually Kindle books that are deeply discounted. And I knew in my head that I should check out the library again, but I just never took the time to do so.

Two weeks ago, I finally did. Central City has a wonderful public library, this I've known forever. But I'd forgotten how much I enjoy browsing the shelves, smelling that distinct "library" smell that hasn't changed in 20 years (this is a good smell, not anything like the video area smell in Warsaw). I happily discovered that Christian fiction has its own area now, making it easy to browse for my favorite authors' books.

I ended up pulling two books off the shelves, John Green's new Turtles All the Way Down and a Debbie Macomber book I've been wanting to read. I left with those books and a brochure that explained how to log into my library account and check out e-books and audiobooks.

Once home, I eagerly logged into my account and discovered that my last checkout was in July 2014 ... and that was two movies (Alex Cross and The Wolverine, if you're wondering). My last book checkout was sometime before they began keeping online records!

I've now checked out seven e-books (and read about half of them); placed a hold on a book that is now in my possession (Lie to Me, one of the books my sister reviewed last month); and requested that the library purchase a book, which they did, and now I'm the first person to ever check it out (What to Say Next, which Val also reviewed last month).

Now that I'm loving the library again, I have just one question: What took me so long???

Do you make use of your local public library? If so, what do you love about it? If not, why not?

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