Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Library

I'm back with an old love. Kickin' it old school, so to speak.

I'm gonna stop buying new (and crazy expensive) books and start going to the library.

When did this madness begin? When did I start trolling the aisles of bookstores to buy $24 paperback books (that's right, the most recent paperback I wanted to buy was $24 at B&N!), instead of supporting one of the most fantastic, most steadfast, most democratic institutions that local government has to offer?

When I was a kid, my mom took my brother and I to the local library all the time. Not only were there all the books a young bibliophile could love, but there were fun kids' seating areas, art displays... and I'm pretty sure there were hamsters. And the smell - ahhhhh, the smell! Two parts musty, one part anticipation. I loved it!

My book buying habits must have started when I moved to Dupont Circle, where there are some pretty great bookstores, including the granddaddy of Dupont independent booksellers, Krammerbooks. There's also an amazing used book store, Second Story Books. (I'm not giving up on my used book buying - thrifty, perfect for overseas travel, and a great example of "recycling".)

It's now gotten to the point where I'm spending big bucks on books, and I don't have any more room on my bookshelves. So this weekend, I went to my local public library.

Heaven! They have an amazing biography/autobiography section (I'm reading a biography of Marie Antoinette now. I adore Sofia Coppola's movie about the teen queen, and this book is adding a whole new dimension for me). They also have notices about interesting local events - I found out about a hike through a local branch of the Underground Railroad that happens every Saturday. Who knew!? Plus, it's a true mixing bowl - every type of person in the community can be found in the library.

If you live in DC - please visit the main branch! The MLK Library is downtown, at 9th & G, and there's an area where you can buy books for $1! Why can you buy books there for $1? Because those books come from libararies that are under-funded and under-patronized, and DC is shutting them down. So that's the moral of the story - support your local library, or someday it might not be there anymore...

1 comment:

The Social Reformer said...

I remember going to the library. and while thats all good, theres nothing like owning your own book. one of the best feelings in the world. you "own" that piece of knowledge and giving that person (author) money is my sign of respect for the work that he/she put into creating that source of information.

Ruben Harris