Thursday, April 03, 2008

I love books, but libraries don't love me!

I've loved books since I was a kid. I actually got in trouble often for reading for too long at a time, as my optometrist had said that reading for hours and hours on end was one of the factors causing my bad eyesight. I remember reading with a flashlight in my bed in elementary and middle school since there was always more I wanted to read of the book.

So what does this have to do with my adult life? It would seem to have no correlation, as it's hard to find time to read for fun. I mostly read articles online (news, self-help, short interesting stories) that I can finish in 30 minutes. I also read online comics, which give me the nice fantasy world. But none of this is the same as reading a great book from start to finish (although I did read an entire trilogy last summer, as well as re-reading the entire Harry Potter series!). I've gotten halfway through a fiction book on audiotape (yes, tape) this schoolyear, but I haven't listed to that in 2 months now.

No, what my life has come to now is reading for research and classes. I read technical articles, textbooks, library books. And thus we get to the crux of my problem: library books. I'm like Hermione in the sense that I believe the answers to all of my academic problems lie in library books, only my library is not nearly as reliable as her library! Quite often our online library search does not find a book that does actually exist, a book I need is checked out for the next 5 months, or the book I need is at one of the other area colleges and will take multiple days to get to me. It seems that if you want a library book from a university library, you better check it out at the beginning of the semester, otherwise it will not be there! There are thousands of books in our library system, but yet the ones I really need are always checked out. Probabilistically, this should not happen to me as often as it does. I must conclude that the library does not love me as much as I love it.

I'm not sure what makes me sadder: that I never read for fun, that I now rely on a university library and am happy about it, or that something that should be so useful has failed me so many times and tends to fail at the crucial time period.

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