Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy Library Week!

"So, I'll just go while you're studying tomorrow...unless you want to go with me?"

My husband smiled hesitantly. "Um..."

This is the conversation I had with my husband yesterday about going to the library. It's not that he hates the library. It's not him; it's me. Actually, I've yet to meet a person in Provo who would actually want to go to the library with me (unless they didn't know what they were getting into).

The truth is, I really love the library. Almost bordering on obsession, except that I occasionally allow regular life to get in the way of my library time. (But I'm rethinking that.) I love libraries like other book bloggers love bookshops. I come home with stacks of books just like they do, but my stacks are even more eye-rolling because there's no chance I could ever read them before the due date.

Here's a picture of the gorgeous Provo library, which I'm lucky enough to have:

To be honest, the part you're looking at is not actually the library part of the building, but a community center of sorts...the library is in the back. But it's still beautiful!
So far, the two brave souls in Provo who have ventured to visit the library with me are my husband and one of my best friends. They were both bored just as the excitement began (for me). And then I sort of felt bad for making them sit in the library for two hours, so I sighed and agreed to cut the visit short.

My love of libraries originated in my childhood and was taught me by my mother. Our whole family (sans Dad, who was probably at work) was used to long library visits. We could stay as long as we wanted. If other family members weren't ready to go home, we would cheerfully sit in a chair and read until they were done. My home library wasn't that big, but it was a veritable fountain of knowledge and fun--until my mom took me to the Downtown Library. 

The immense Downtown Library was breathtaking. The children's section itself took up an entire room (unlike the local library, which had about two bookcases of children's books). Best of all, my sister and I discovered that all we had to do to get there was ask my mother, and she would arrange us a trip. (Unfortunately, though, the parking meter didn't allow us to have long visits like we got regularly at the local library.) It wasn't until I was older that I realized that my mother herself, rather than vanishing into thin air after I had tripped off to the children's section, was enjoying the library just as much as I was. I had inherited (or rather, learned) my library addiction from her. 

So began my library obsession, and when I lived in Cedar City for a mere four months, I was an even more frequent library visitor, because I lived only a few blocks away from the library. The Cedar library wasn't near as expansive as the Downtown Library in my hometown, but it was certainly better (and prettier) than the old, familiar local library. Finally, I moved to Provo, and was once again within walking distance of a library, this one even more beautiful and definitely bigger than the last. 

Unfortunately, after learning to love the Provo library, I got married and moved too far away to be able to visit quite as often. I'm actually thinking of trying to convince my husband to move closer to it again. 

Teachers of book-reading always seem to recommend buying your books. It's entirely understandable why: so you can write in them, and keep them, and pass them on to your grandchildren, etc. And to be honest, I cherish my tiny book collection, which mainly grows by inherited books, school books, and books I receive as gifts. I love these books and dream of having my own vast library. But my message to you is, in all your book buying craze, don't forget about public libraries! As a poor college student, I just don't have enough money to buy books, even if I were only to buy books I desperately love (that list grows all the time, as it does for so many of us). There's such a joy in knowing that I can have the knowledge, experience, and profound pleasure of new books and reading for no money at all. (Unless, of course, I forget to return the book on time, which of course, I have never done...ahem.) Even if you have the money to buy all the books you could ever want, don't forget to support the library so that those of us who don't have the funds you do can bask in just as much book love as you do. 

Happy Library Week!


  1. Well my goodness. It's like reading a post I wrote (except for the part where I'm not a writer). Obviously as a librarian I like libraries a lot, and my husband has learned to deal with the fact that a trip to a new place will always include a visit to the library. The new SLC library was pretty fun to visit, and if you ever go to NYC you'd better make sure to go--not just to the Main branch, but also to the Greenwich Village branch.

    I will just about always prefer to check books out rather than buy them. If I bought all the book I read, I'd be homeless and living in a shelter made of books, so it wouldn't make a lot of sense. Also ILL is my friend, so I only buy a book if I'm really sure I want to own it and I can't get it easily at the library.

    The stacks (any stacks) are about my favorite place on earth. My coworker and I agreed a little while ago--it's always better in the stacks. You walk in there and, aaaah, you feel better instantly. I can easily spend 6 hours at work at the library (which to be fair only involves short and infrequent trips to the stacks) and then spend a relaxing hour or so browsing the public library. And yes, I always have far more books checked out than I could ever read in time, even with all the renewals I get.

    You are indeed lucky to get to use the Provo library--in fact the whole Utah library system is enviable from a CA point of view. So be sure to enjoy it!

  2. I totally appreciate your love of libraries. I love them, too. People look at me strange when they learn that my kids and I actually go almost once a week.

  3. When I was a kid, our Saturday ritual involved going to town with mom while dad worked on his sermon in peace for a few hours. We'd first go to the library, and eventually the grocery store. When I was in college, I loved studying in the library, though I rarely had time to read for fun. Now I take my kids to the library every Saturday morning, then eventually to the grocery store :-)

    Where we live now is the first place we've lived since we got married that is not within walking distance of a public library. It's the greatest downfall this house has.

  4. Ohhh, that IS a beautiful library.

  5. I love the library but yours is like a castle! Kids and I could spend hours there!