Friday afternoon, and the library beckons. I took the last lot of books back in a rush, a day late, and didn’t get more out at the time. So now, more intentionally, we’re off to score some books. Because this is a household where new book acquisitions, even where they have to be given back after a bit, are greeted with great joy.
Once upon a time, I went to the library. A lot. I was around 6, and I remember getting my first Asterix book at the library. I can still remember the feel of the building inside. Clearly I was impressed, or hooked, or both. Years of regular library trips followed.
My other main library memory is the one from the town where I spent my secondary years. Light, spacious, extensive section for kids and teens. Heaven. I even tried to get work at the weekend there, although this was at a time when I believed being a librarian was more about how many books you got to read.
Studying, I still went to the library, got books, but now they were for work. There was a big watershed at the end of A Levels, where I stopped reading fiction, to all intents and purposes. Three A Levels with literature components later, I was kind of full to the brim with stories.
Academic reading took off – had to, really, at university time. Reading was still regular but less for fun (though a lot of it was still fun. For example, you could read linguistics journals with articles about whether guinea pigs would jump over little hurdles when played various sound segments. And call it work.).
There’s more in between, but suffice to say, I got back into the library habit a few years ago. Grand. It makes an outing out of an afternoon, you have all the adrenaline rush of a charity shop bonanza, when you find the good stuff, but you don’t have to spend money.
Mind you, the librarians know me, so sometimes I do. Today I was pointed at the ‘withdrawn from the library section’ and essentially told to help myself. I felt that wasn’t quite right, so I gave them a couple of pounds – it won’t do a great deal to boost the staff Christmas night out, but it’s a step in the right direction.
There are several delights to all this. The heading out, with library intent. The choosing. The chatting to the librarians, sometimes to others pouring over the picture books. The returning, straining a little under the weight of books. Getting home, laying them all out. A little pause. Then diving in. Bliss.