I’ve already touched quite a bit on my love for libraries in a past post — why I prefer to borrow vs. buy books, my thoughts on why the library system is like a magical unicorn, yada yada…
But I realized that I’ve only just skimmed the surface of my love for the library. When you spend as much time at the library as I do, you start to notice certain habits that come with being a frequent library-goer. You could probably drive the route to your local library blindfolded, your library bag is the largest you own and is likely a bit dirty from overuse, and you no doubt had your library card number memorized ages ago…
And it’s not just the quirky habits of library-goers that I’ve noticed — it’s also the little things I appreciate when I’m at the library. Be they moments of near literary nirvana in the stacks or the little victories in snagging the exact book I want, I’ve come to appreciate so many small things about the library.
So settle in and cozy up as I list the little things I love about the library! Hopefully if I’m doing it right, my fellow library regulars will be nodding their heads and saying, “That’s so me!” Or maybe you’ll just be a little creeped out by how much time I must spend at the library. * winks * You know, I don’t claim it as my permanent address, but…
1. When your hold comes in faster than expected!
It’s the book you’ve just been dying to get your hands on, but you were too broke to buy at the bookstore. Your dramatic sigh of defeat and desperation when viewing the decades-long holds list was probably the Sigh Heard Round the World. You placed the hold and then promptly tried to forget about it, lest you drown in your misery. But — lo and behold! — on your next trip to the library there it sits, calling to you from its place on the holds shelf with your name on it! Praise be to the speed-readers and hold-cancellers everywhere.
2. When a librarian manages to track down a book you couldn’t f ind anywhere.
You NEED this book unlike any other book you’ve ever needed in your life (since last week), but it’s nowhere to be found. It’s not in its designated spot on the shelf, it’s not a new book, and it doesn’t even seem to be on display. You gather up the courage to pester the librarian at the desk (who turns out to be rather nice), and they disappear into and return from some magical back room with your book in tow! Now tell me who the real miracle workers are…
3. When you’re the only person in the section and feel like the whole place belongs to you.
Sure, you understand that the library is a public place, and that that’s even part of what makes it so special. Still, you can’t help but wish sometimes that you were the only one around, enjoying your books in peace and quiet. You happen to glance to your right, and — gasp! — there’s no one there. You peek to the left, and it’s similarly abandoned. Smiling with bookish glee, you settle deeper into your armchair, secretly name this part of the library as your section for now and forever more, and get to reading like you’re the only person in the world.
4. When you f ind the new book you wanted actually on the shelf, somehow miraculously hold-less!
Perhaps in a case very similar to #1, the new book you want must be obtained from the library. But maybe you forgot to place a hold on it, and are despairing because you’re sure that by now trying to get it must be a lost cause. Yet when browsing the new books, it suddenly appears on the shelf like a mirage. Who are you to question the questionable taste of your fellow library patrons? It’s definitely their loss if they don’t know a good book when they see one. Snatch that baby off the shelf and it’s YOURS!
5. When you can spend hours at the library unhassled by family members anxious to leave.
While they claim to like reading (or maybe they never made any such claim), your family members sure do seem to want to leave within 15 minutes of arriving. They say they’ve got this or that obviously less important thing to do — but can’t they see you’ve only just barely started looking for books? (The tall stack by your bag might be a bit misleading). This time you managed to beg off having to go as a family by promising to pick up their holds, but make no promises about the hour of your return. Rejoice!
6. When you happen across a book on the shelves that you didn’t even know you needed!
Oh my gosh, they make books on the history of children’s publishing? Wait, do I really need this book on cats and reading? Is this actually a book about time-traveling, sword-wielding princesses? Sign me up! Alas, even Goodreads and fellow bloggers cannot alert you to every book out there that you’d love. And so enters the wondrous serendipity of finding books simply while browsing the stacks. Highly recommended, particularly if you’ve got a good deal of time on your hands and a penchant for experimentation.
7. When the shelves are decorated with librarian-made book art.
As the motto goes, you can never have enough book art. Or at least it should! If your librarians aren’t making book art for the library, what are they doing? (Kidding! Very much kidding. Bow down to your librarians.) A few origami flowers made from book pages are practically essential. And that Christmas tree they made months ago from used paperbacks and a few string lights? GENIUS.
8. When you come across a kindred spirit in the stacks.
You’re completely engrossed in finding the shelf where the M’s begin when you almost trip over someone sitting in the stacks. Yet you’re not even mad, because they’re surrounded by small piles of books, completely absorbed in whatever it is they’re reading. By gosh, that could be one of your clones right there! You give them ample space when going around them, and send positive book vibes their way.