Friday, April 24, 2009

Book 'Em

CinDC at Pencil Crossings answered these questions for Library Week, which I missed because I was away at stitching camp. But since I make love to a librarian (ok, library student) I thought I'd answer them too.

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?

I take out all kinds of books from my library on a fairly regular basis. I try to always vet craft books instead of buying them and being disappointed. Of course, eleventy years of grad school gets you in the habit of using libraries, public and otherwise.

I remember once at a faculty meeting someone said that amazon had replaced the library as a place to research "the literature" (you know all the books ever written about whatever subject). Much easier, more thorough, and more books at hand, so to speak. But I don't think bookstores, even virtual ones--can replace libraries. First of all, there aren't a lot of bookstores that let you read and return books. There aren't even as many bookstores as there used to be. And fewer bookstores, no matter how behemoth they may be, mean fewer choices.

I don't remember going to the library a lot as a child, but I don't remember having a lot of books either. I did, however, read volumes. I think I relied on the school library, but I'm sure my mother will tell you that she took me to the library. I started going to the public library in high school because my high school's library had ancient out of date books that were guarded by a nun nearly as ancient. In college, I went to the public library on rare occasions. In those days there wasn't a bookstore in the town. Or in any nearby town. And we couldn't order off the internet either. I rarely studied in my school's "modern" library, choosing Haverford's dark and cozy library instead. (Pictured. I remember it as dark because when I wasn't in "the ship," I was in the smoker.)

I think the dude's studies have led me to have a better appreciation for the scope of the library's mission and the way it can/does serve as a community center.


Patti said...

I NEVER use the Library for two very good reasons. Number one is I hate reading books, or anything, that anybody else has read and number two is I'm really crap at taking stuff back. I've decided I'm really very anal where reading and stitching is concerned. Patti xxx

LadyDoc said...

If I wasn't pretty sure you are quite a bit younger than me, I would be asking if you knew my DH- he went to Haverford. And, you have me wondering which nuns guarded your school library (RSM, IHM, etc). Looks like we've had a lot of similar experiences.

I started with the bookmobile at age 5. I was first allowed to ride the bus to the closest public library in 4th grade, so I was 9 by then. I have used public libraries, school libraries and books stores all my life. (As I type, it is good I am not claustrophobic or the fear of thousands of books collapsing around and on top of me would be a problem- this computer is squeezed into the one little space in this room not filled with floor to ceiling books, as well as piles of them surrounding me on the floor!)

Bookstores cannot replace libraries- silly idea!- but they sure are fun to spend time, and just plain spend, in!

cathymk said...

I guess the thing about Amazon is that there is an element of "peer review" in that others can leave comments about their reading experiences.

The Library 2.0 movement is trying to bring that flavour to library catalogues and Library websites.

Melody said...

I'm glad to hear that your dude is going to into library work!

I have been a librarian all of my working life, and I love it. Love libraries, and reading.

I find my job really rewarding, especially when I can match people up with authors/books that become their favorites.