Library Blues

thWhen I first became a teacher, one of my initial classes was full of seniors who were taking the writing class as an elective. One of my first lessons focused on the importance of reading and deciphering what you read. Because it was an elective, I was using some books that weren’t readily available at the high school, so I suggested going to the local library to get the books. I was surprised at the response to that from one young lady.

BlondeGirl: I’m never going to a library.

Me: Why not?

BlondeGirl: Those books are soooo dirty.

Me: No dirtier than your phone.

BlondeGirl: Oh. Ewwwww.

That’s one of the bad raps the library gets, that so many people use the materials that they either get worn out so much faster or they’re so filthy from that same overuse. Too many library haters exist these days, even with the recession and the cost of books not really going down. Perhaps the rise of eBooks and eReaders can be attributed to the decline of the library, but while bookstores have utilized these eReaders to stay alive, libraries too have gotten into the virtual game.

I have an application called OverDrive that allows me to order eBooks to rent from the library system in the Utica area. I can check out the books and upload them to my Nook to read at my convenience. Plus, if I’m worried about the condition of the books from the library itself I don’t have to touch a single one. One of the letdowns, however, is that the library only has so many digital copies it has purchased, and some of the waiting lists are ridiculously long.

There are also some people who clean off the books they get from the library with Lysol and various other cleaning products. Good luck to them, but I’m of the opinion that the things you have in your own house have numerous germs. What’s a few more? I just try my best not to think about it. Instead I think about all the money I’m saving by checking those books out instead of buying them for a ridiculous amount of money.

I have an app on my phone called BookMyne that gives me access to my library account, and it keeps track of the books I’ve checked out and their current value if I were to purchase them. It’s crazy to look at those numbers with over $15 dollars a book, and I’ve read some of the most current, most expensive first-run books from the library. It also helps that my wife is a librarian and finds out about upcoming releases long before they come out, so I can get my name on those hold lists and get the books soon after they’re available in the system.

Now of course I’m thinking about where those books have been. Where’s my Lysol?

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