My Landing Spot

Hiding in the non-fiction. My favorite spot in all the library.

Hiding in the non-fiction. My favorite spot in all the library.

I’m sitting in the very last row of the non-fiction section of my library, which isn’t saying much since the non-fiction section is only two full shelves. Okay, it’s three, but the over-sized books are over somewhere else.  I’m reading my new copy of Foolsgold by Susan G. Wooldridge, which is silly because over in the 130’s of the non-fiction is the library copy.  I could have just picked up that copy since I have borrowed it numerous times, but I am so in love with my own copy, I had to bring it.

Cover of "Foolsgold: Making Something fro...

Cover via Amazon

Chapter 32 of Foolsgold, titled ‘foolsgold and ethel’s landing’, talks about finding a spot you find peaceful and removed.  Just a corner or nook (I love the word nook) that you can pause and be in your own realm.  Fill it with a cushion or chair and settle in.  Pause.  Maybe do nothing at all.

For me, this last row in the library is that spot.  I can usually sprawl out here and not be bothered, though just as I wrote that, Bev, a friend, has ‘intruded’ into this space to look for a book in the 900’s for the library.  Or maybe herself.

Poetry to the right

Poetry to the right

I like this spot because it doesn’t get much traffic.  To the right of me are all the poetry books and to the left are literature and travel.  Shakespeare and books on New York.  Plato and The Places in Between by Rory Stewart.  Hold on, I have to see what that book is about.  Ooh, sounds interesting; about a man walking across Afghanistan in 2002.  Maybe a winter reading book.  The title fits with the Foolsgold chapter, for in there, Ethel’s Landing is the stairs landing Susan’s mother has her spot.  And landings are neither up nor down, but between.

I love my spot and I would love to add a cushion, a couple of candles and a pot of tea.  Just

Plato, Shakespeare, and The Places in Between. See the arrow?

Plato, Shakespeare, and The Places in Between. See the arrow?

set up and stay.  I like hearing all the sounds from the library around me.  People tapping on the computers out at the front, the murmur of conversations.  It’s homey.  I should look into bringing a cushion to sit on so I’m not on the floor, but at the same time, I kind of like it the way it is.

I don’t get to sit in my spot all that often.  Usually I’m in a hurry or I’m browsing the library so I don’t just go settle down and unwind.  Life is so incredibly busy that I don’t feel like I have the right to sit and separate myself from what’s going on around me.  The thing is, I only need about ten to fifteen minutes in the back of that row and I’ll have a whole session of relaxing tingles that unwind me, a few random thoughts, maybe glancing through a magazine.  It doesn’t take much to really do nothing but be there.  Who knows, maybe I would be more writing productive if I were to pause there once a week when I stop in at the library.

Signing off

~Kate

Why Doesn’t My Library Court Me?

Interior view, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh,...

Image via Wikipedia

I love my library. I’ve loved every library that I’ve used on a regular basis, including the Carnegie Library I browsed during my six week stay in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Libraries are my way to get a ‘book fix’ without spending a fortune in books. I don’t have the luxury of a close bookstore, nor even a used bookstore. I will purchase books online, but only when I really, really want or need a certain book. So the library is my only option, and like I said, I love my library.

However, there is a problem with how my library is run. I’m sure this is the same with all libraries. They are run like a government organization, which it is, and not like a private business. They don’t have to show a profit. They don’t have to increase usage. They still get funding even if the patronage drops.

Most flourishing businesses are constantly catering to their customers. They introduce new items to entice people to buy, and to return. They run a helpful operation that cares about their customers. They want your business.

Why doesn’t the library do that? When you go into a library, there are usually books displayed to entice, yet most of the time, the books are on a specific issue, or something the librarian has deemed important. For instance, this week was Dr. Seuss’ birthday, so several of his books wer displayed. I’m perfectly fine with that, but most of the time, I couldn’t care a wit for what is usually displayed. Also, most of the time, the books are not changed often enough to attract my attention.

Part of this rant stems from the fact that my librarian and the volunteers, who now run the library most of the time, don’t really care what I check out. They don’t take the time to know their patrons. Because they don’t have to show a profit, they don’t care if I take out one book or five.

Now, I have been teased as being the one who keeps the library running since I am forever ordering in new books that tickle my fancy. While I have to admit that I have brought in a fair amount of different books, I am not the one who keeps the library running. I just, uh, help.

I used to be the substitute librarian at my library. For two years I ran my one day a week, and for a brief time, I was in charge of all the functions of the library for a month. (At 21, this was somewhat scary to me.) I loved my job and one of the best parts was getting to know my patrons, learning what they liked, and being able to recommend books to them.

Even if I hadn’t read the book, I learned what genres certain people liked, and accordingly, recommended along those lines. For the record, I didn’t have much time to read during the years of working in the library. I checked out plenty, but just didn’t read that much. Go figure.

I liked a post this Christmas that posted on last minute gifts. Read it herePeg-o-Leg’s Ramblings  had it right.   What a great idea for an ad campaign for the library systems. You encourage people to ‘give’ a library book as a gift. Just picture this. You see a woman browsing the shelves, looking and looking. Finally, she finds one she likes. Her eyes are excited. She takes it to the counter and checks it out, then just before she leaves the library, she takes it to the gift wrapping station, just like Barnes and Noble has every holiday season, to be wrapped up. Of course inside is a due date, but she has the perfect gift for someone. If they don’t like it, they can return it!

Well, that was my silliness escaping. However, why don’t libraries try to court their patrons? Display a wide variety of books that are available, so it catches people’s eyes. Instead of just the new titles, how about some old ones? I mean, just the other day, I found a book that has been in my library for six years and has never been checked out. Go figure why since it is a field guide to west coast lighthouses. It’s cool! But I’ve never seen it displayed.

If libraries want people to use them for books instead of just an internet source, which my library does, then they need to have incentives for patrons to keep returning. How about a running tally of the top readers. You know, where a user name, or even the patron’s name is displayed with the amount of books they have read. Or maybe a list of patron recommendations. I don’t know.

Well, this is my own rant. And I have plenty more about my library. Hey, I may love it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have problems.

What say you?

Signing off

~Kate

Where Are The Classics?

Cover of "Bright Star"

Cover of Bright Star

I started watching Bright Star the other day.  About the life and romance of John Keats and Fanny Brawne.  Well, any ways, the film starts off with Fanny wanting to read Endymion, by Mr. Keats.  Of course, because I love anything literary-ish, and British to boot, I decided I needed to take a look at Endymion.

My library system doesn’t have a copy of Endymion.  At all.  Nor does it have much on Keats.  Actually, my library system is lacking in quite a few of the classics.  It’s missing certain Shakespeare plays…. Like Romeo and Juliet.  Um, am I missing something here?  Shouldn’t the library be the place to get these kinds of works?

So, I’m relegated to having to read Endymion online.  I hate reading things like this online. I like flipping through a book and pulling out passages I like.  I started reading Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake, in a book from the library. I loved the edition, but have yet to find it myself, or at least the specific edition. I do have a selected works of Scott, and a paperback copy of the Lady of the Lake, which is old.  Any ways, I like reading the book format.  Not online.

The thing is, my library system isn’t small. I mean, the library is the whole county.  Not just my town.  And the county has 50K people.  So it’s not impossible.  No, the library has to put dumb worthless books in the library.  It has to ‘weed’ out books on classical painters and such because they don’t get checked out much.  But it can’t seem to have decent copies of the classics.  Especially in the poetry section. 

Now I get that poetry isn’t terribly popular.  Only unique people read it.  Yes, I’m unique, but still, CLASSICS!  Come on, isn’t that one of the reasons for going to the library?  Not everyone wants to own a classic, but at some point just about every one has read one.

Well, I’m ranting, but this is just my opinion.  I guess I’ll just have to suffer through the online version.  Same goes for wanting to read The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding.  I think there is a copy in the system, but it requires more work than I care to put into it, to read it.  So again, online.  Which probably means I’ll never read it.

Signing off

~Kate

In The Stacks

I know, this is a guy, not a girl...

She sat on the floor, knees bent.  Sheltered in the back stacks of the library, in the unpopular sections, like poetry, biographies, and various literature, the scent of musty books, aged paper and ink, and time gone by, she let the atmosphere float around her.  An irregular square of light reflected on the wall above her head, its shape constantly moving from the wind tossing around the Norway maple shading the skylight that was the square.

Sounds of rustling paper, the tapping of keyboard keys, and murmured discussions sent a prickle of delight up her spine.  Goose-flesh broke out on her skin and she could feel every hair on her head tense.  She loved this feeling.  It relaxed her like nothing else.  Sometimes she would get the same tingle when someone brushed her hair.

There was a tranquility being in the library.  No one bothered her while she flipped through a book of Emily Dickinson’s poetry.  She read random lines, not really focusing on the words, but letting them roll off her form like water rolls off a duck’s back.  Noticeable, but not.  She floated in mind as she read but still consciously listened to the movement of other patrons. 

A printer  turned on and the warm, whirring motor sound made her feel like she was in a warm blanket.  Keys clicked on a keyboard and she pictured an office with secretaries typing away.  A newspaper crackled as someone shook out the pages.  She pictured an old man with white hair, his glasses sitting low on the bridge of his nose.

A couple of school girls came in, giggling and joking with each other, more loudly then they should have been.  The sound jarred her for a moment before she heard the librarian shush them.  They scurried off towards some other deep recess of the library, still giggling.  The heating system turned on and she felt the warm air blow up behind her back.  She was practically sitting on the vent in the floor.

She sat there just being a part of the library.  Hiding in the stacks.

 Okay, flash fiction time!  I think this is my new favorite thing, now that I know that I’m actually doing it.  I love the library.  I used to be a substitute librarian for two years and it was my thing.  I still go to my local library on a weekly basis, more if I have time, and I can be found sitting on the floor in the poetry section, many times.  So if you happen to see me there, ‘shush’, I’m reading and taking it all in.  Probably with the relaxed gooseflesh hair raised thing going on.

Signing off

~Kate

The Ultimate Personal Library

I don’t know if there is a band wagon for this, but I have just found some gorgeous photos of Neil Gaiman’s personal library from a couple blogs. Can I swoon?

"daaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyymmmmmmmmm" via A Minute For Minute

 That statement says it all.

 

 

More pictures can be seen here at Ron Brinkmann’s blog post:

Gaiman’s Bookshelf Details

 

Another great post regarding personal libraries is Case Study: The Personal Library (a pictorial)

 

Give me a man who owns a library like this and I will be in heaven.  Just so long as I get to add my books to the collection.

Signing off

~Kate