Borrowed Stories, Borrowed Books

I don’t go to the library much.

I like taking the books home. Not so much taking them back.

Usually I browse Amazon’s Kindle store. Or go to the thrift store and load up on books I’ve been wanting for 50 to 99 cents apiece.

However, I realize that spending money on books (especially if you end up never reading them again) is a horrible investment, unless you love the book so much you’ll read it over and over again.

So this past week, I decided to take a trip to the St. Helena Library. I got a library card there when I was in college, but haven’t really used it much. This much was evident when I tried putting a book on hold a few days before.

“Why won’t you work?!” I fumed at the computer. For some reason it didn’t hit me until later that maybe the card was expired.

So after a particularly stressful day at work, I decided I was going to the library.

Saint Helena Library is housed in a large building connecting with the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. It’s not as big of a library as I’ve been to in the past year or so (the downtown Stockton library is probably three times as big) but the environment is quiet and unassuming, how a library should be. I had a list of books I’d snagged off of my Goodreads that afternoon and placed onto a post-it-note on the back of my phone. The trip had been spurred by my failed attempt to put Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn on hold online. As it turned out, the book has a long waiting list (which I put my name on) and I ended up leaving with Flowers for Algernon, The Blind Assassin, Ender’s Game, All the Pretty Horses, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and The Book Thief. I marveled at the irony that I’d come for basically one book and leave with six (not including the one I wanted).

The most recent time I’d been to the library was to donate a box of books that I wasn’t going to read again that were simply taking up precious room on bookshelf in my apartment. Already the bookshelf is half double-stacked, some titles hiding behind others, yet I couldn’t give up a lot of them. I lugged the heavy bin from my apartment to my car, car to the library circulation desk, and then to the back room where I carefully placed each book onto the shelf. It felt sad to be giving away books, but knowing that others could enjoy them helped, especially when there were titles where I had two of the same one (Northanger Abbey and Les Miserables. I actually had 3 copies of Les Miserables, and I kept 2, unabridged and very abridged).

Although I’m normally not happy with taking books back to the library, with its close proximity, my lesser need to drive there, and the fact I can bring home a giant stack of books without spending a penny makes me think I might be visiting more often.

Even if I have to spend a good amount of time on the waiting list. 🙂

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