Monday, August 22, 2011

About the Library

First of all, last night I couldn't sleep because I was horror-struck with the thought, did i remember to renew my library books?!?  I HATE getting a late fee. I don't know why. Does the $.10 a day really hurt me? or whatever it is.  I just hate owing things. I like to be on time. It's just how I am, ok?  Anyway, tossing and turning. Did i wake Sean up? Maybe. He maybe told me not to worry about it, to go to sleep. But could I?  They were due a week and a half ago while we were out of town and I remember getting the email notice and was like, I'd better renew these before we leave on another trip where we wouldn't have much internet access.   So last night i wondered--did i?? Had i?? 

Finally i got up, bleary-eyed, and dug my library card out of my bag. I jiggled the mouse and the computer screen flashed its blinding hello. I logged on and sure enough, NO. I had NOT.  I was set back $7.50. Wha!!   I immediately renewed the books and then paid the fine.  And you know what else I did? Today Julian and I rushed to the library and returned them because that makes even less sense.  I am what I am.

But while I was there I had some other library thoughts.  

Here's a picture of the outside of our library.
 In the kids section I sat on a bench while Julian fetched books for me to read to him. I love reading books to kids, but he doesn't sit still for very long to hear one in full while we are at the library.  But he is good at getting more books.   A little girl was sitting close to me by her babysitter who was busy with a younger sibling. Julian had handed me a book and mid-read, he ran off and i just kept reading to the little girl who had subtly turned our way to listen.  I read on through and finished and, not wanting to scare her away, just pretended to read to the air like a crazy person. Or maybe i just like reading aloud? Anyway, it was fun.

Next thought: Inside the main area, it's kind of a big open space and fun to just zoom around in a stroller. Well i wouldn't know, you'd have to ask Julian. But it feels fun to me to push it.  So we'd zoom to the fiction and then to a water fountain that wasn't working, so of course we had to zoom to the other one across the way. Then zoom to the drop-off.  I think we zig-zagged back and forth at least 7 times.  On one of those times I saw a tall black man with a snow white beard. He had happy eyes and, though quite thin, i gasped--black santa!!  He seemed jolly, and I smiled at him.  And then I wondered, how common is it for someone to smile at another person just because they like the look of them. Ok, now that i typed that it seems like that would be extremely common.  But i think my thoughts then took me to, '... but what if you told them so?'  And that's where i entertained myself for a second or two. 

Last thought:  Maybe it hasn't been that long since i first regularly put a library card to use.  I did when i was small but that was on my mom's card and i paid no attention. But i never really frequented the library again until recent years.  And i'm wondering if that's why I am kind of library-old fashioned. Nowadays we can look online to see if books are available and if not, reserve them. We can renew online and pay late fees online and pretend they never happened and you are guilt-free, with a totally clean record. But part of me kind of wishes they'd just stay how they were back in the day.  I mean, even when i look a book up on the computer, how often do I actually find it there? Probably 30% of the time. I often end up asking a librarian and they direct me to where it actually is. I get my book, he/she feels helpful, we both interacted with people. It's a win win win.   

It's kind of like trains.   Trains should always have a throwback feel to them. They should always have ticket takers (<-- official name for them, i'm pretty sure) wearing fun conductor-y hats and who walk up and down the aisle saying, "tickets, please! Get your tickets ready!" Who take your ticket and punch a whole through them with a special ticket puncher. It's just how it should be with trains.  Of this I am sure. 

And that's the end of that one.


Amber Alvarez said...

OK. I was going to make other comments, but now you have mentioned ticket punchers and I can share my secret obsession with such. Did you know that train conductors on the NJ transit trains each have a special punch that they keep for their whole career? It has a special one of a kind shape and if it wears out they're issued a new shape, but it's a big deal to get a new one. Usually they can last for their whole careers and they go in and get them sharpened. Often the ticket punchers on the train have all these random stories of pride about their punchy. OK. I found that information at the library. Now you feel less nerdy, right about needing to jump up and check those fees, right?

)en said...

is that true?? what an amazing story!! I'm better for it, that's for sure. Wish i had a punchy thing...