I've finally started going to the library again. I used to go all the time when I was a kid, but since I moved here to Myrtle Beach, I never seemed to have the time. One of the first things I did when I moved here was get a library card, and yet I've only just used it in the past few weeks. My excuses before were that it was too much of a hassle to have to worry about the library's hours of operation, due dates and late fees and whether they would have the book I wanted, etc. Since I tend to re-read my favorite books, I also used that as an excuse to buy the books I wanted to read instead of checking them out from the library for free.
Since I've been unemployed these several past months, I've been prohibiting myself from unnecessary purchases, especially books. I have to look away every time I walk past the book section at Walmart, lest the gravitation pull of literary wonder drag me to my financial doom. I've rarely been able to resist buying an armload of books, even when I tell myself I'm just looking, or that I'm only going to buy one book. Yeah, right! That's like eating one doughnut. Impossible! Now that I've got all this time on my hands, I decided I didn't have to worry about due dates and such for the library. I have more than enough time to read a few books and get them back on time. I went the first time and was pleasantly surprised to hear that I had four weeks before they were due back! Have libraries extended the amount of time you can have a book out? I had assumed it would have to be returned in two weeks. I left with an armload of books, which I devoured greedily. I then made a list of several more books I wanted to check out on my next trip and took a canvas bag with me to help carry them. As I walked among the bookshelves, snatching books from the shelves as if I was on a grand shopping spree, I felt giddy with my good fortune. I'd forgotten how glorious it is to choose books without worrying about how much it would cost me, without having to curb my lust for books, books, and more books! After my second trip (with my canvas bag filled to overflowing), I approached the circulation desk and asked the lady at the counter if there was a limit on how many books I could check out at once. The answer? FIFTY! Whoa Nelly! I think I'm safe. :) I made quick work of that second batch of books and am now enjoying working my way through the 9 books I currently have checked out.
I've started thinking of it as "my" library, and I get a bit miffed when I go in and one of the books I want is already checked out. And it pains me to see how poorly some people treat their books. Dog-eared pages, bent covers, unidentified gunk sticking the pages together. It's appalling. I have books I've read a half a dozen times that barely have the hint of creasing along the spine. Some of the paperbacks at the library have been so abused and the spine creased and broken so often that you can no longer even read the name of the book. It hurts my heart to see how carelessly they are cared for.
I'm going to be so sad when I finally get a job and won't have all this time to read and visit the library. But I'm going to enjoy it while I can!