I don’t just love reading, I love books.
I love the sound the pages make when they turn, the smell of a new book, and the weight of it in my hands as I read. I coveted the library in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast from the first time I saw the movie at age six. When I finally got my own office in my own home, I covered one wall with bookcases and promptly filled them.
But libraries. Oh, libraries. Rooms upon rooms of nothing but bookshelves. The epitome of libraries to me is the one at my alma mater, Clarke University. It isn’t the biggest library I have ever visited, but it is cosy, with the right balance of places to get some serious work done and places to curl up and stay a while.
If I used libraries for just these things: writing, studying, curling up with a good book, or simply wandering among the shelves admiring the abundance of literature, I’d be in good shape. Heck, I suppose I could even go as far as to read library books in the library, as long as I didn’t remove them from the building.
Someone needs to take away my library card.
In theory, it always seems like a good idea. I like books. I like reading books. I like libraries. I should check books out of the library. I’ll get to visit the library and save some money in the process!
Note to self: this is never what actually happens. What actually happens is this. I go to the library and fall in love with at least a dozen books, and then promptly check them all out, knowing that there is no way I will read them all before they are due back. I read them all, forgetting about due dates entirely. By the time I have finished, I no longer remember a time when the books were not in my house. Any sense of urgency I had about returning them completely goes away.
Then I get a notice from the library. I think, “Oh yeah, I have to return those.” And promptly forget about it again. It never occurs to me to actually return the books until I get the notice that says something like, “Hey Moron! We’re not sure why we still let you have a library card, but you have about 37 books checked out of the library right now, and they are 94 days overdue. You owe us about a grand in fines at this point, so we’ll setlle for just charging you the $500 the books are worth, replace them, and call it even. Sound good? Thanks. Send us money. Love, The Library.”
Upon receiving this frightening notice, I find the books, scramble them back to the library, and still end up owing them so much in fines that I could have bought at least half of the books and used them to fill the book shelves in my office.
I am surprised they don’t cut my card up when I go to the library. Or perhaps my fines keep them in business?