For the Love of Libraries

After seeing Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None bandied about on the internet a few times, I thought I should really get around to reading it. Unfortunately, The Library didn’t have it.

The Library is the the public library closest to me. It is of a moderate size, has a relatively good level of cleanliness, and is peaceful enough that I can pretend I don’t live in the same house as three to six velociraptors. It’s the only library I’ve been to in a whole year… and I started wondering why.

Looking up the book showed that a number of nearby libraries had it, because- this is a shocker- there were a number of nearby libraries. In Idaho, we had one library, and even though it had the charm of a grain silo it was our library because it was the only library within forty minutes of us.

But instead of requesting the book and waiting a week for it, here I could get in my car and drive ten minutes and I would be on the doorstep of another library. This was a novel idea (hee).

And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to get out and try some other libraries. So today, I took a local library tour.

The first library, about ten minutes from me, looked like every federal office building ever.

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I love the smell of squat brick buildings with funky windows in the morning.

There was nothing especially remarkable about it, but it was spacious and had a very distinctive library feel to it, so it was all right in my book (hee).

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Ah, le tabouret classique de la bibliothèque. My sister and I spent many an hour playing on those squeaky library stools as children.

At the front desk was a severe-looking librarian, which felt very natural because the primary librarian in my Idahoan library always looked as though she could kill me with the practiced swipe of a library card. The aisles in this library were narrow, which I also liked, because it’s easier to hide from the world in them.

I found the Agatha Christie novel easily, and when I went to check it out they stamped it. I found this oddly charming. In “The Library” they don’t do this anymore, because everything’s electronic.

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Sadly, there were no previous dates on the book to ponder. Half the fun used to be wondering about the person who checked this book out before you.

The next stop was north, near Rutgers University. The New Brunswick area is an interesting combination of beautiful quasi-colonial housing, horrible gritty slums, and beautiful quasi-colonial housing that is slowly becoming a horrible gritty slum. I didn’t know what to expect from the library there, but I was immediately enamored with the adjacent cemetery.

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Gosh, if only I could live here. Just not, you know, like that.

The library itself was nothing to sneeze at either.

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The librarian gave me an odd look for standing in the doorway and taking pictures, but clearly she doesn’t understand my genius. I demonstrated my genius by nearly smacking into a table and a bookcase when I was craning my neck to get a better view of the upper floor.

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While it was definitely aesthetically pleasing from the front, actually diving into the shelves required a lot of strange navigation. The bookcases were oddly aligned and fairly old. The flooring on the upper level was slightly translucent, allowing me to see the ceiling lights from the floor below, and it made me wonder if you could see the shadows of my feet down there.

New favorite library. Not for the purposes of actually checking out books, mind you. The layout was far too complicated for that. No, new favorite library for wandering the aisles dressed as a 1910s ghost lady with this new Downton Abbey shawl I just bought.

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After that library, the next one seemed very unimpressive.

It was largely beige. It was rectangular and dull. The doors and windows were reinforced to prevent crime in the shady neighborhood it was in. There was nothing appealing or interesting about the exterior.

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Yeah… yeah, I figured the inside would look like this.

I only spent a moment in this one because there was a large group of Asian ladies who were taking an English class in the main room, and I didn’t want to disturb. I can’t imagine I’ll ever go back to this one, simply because it’s the library equivalent of middle-aged socks with sandals.

The final library was the smallest, and it reminded me a little of the Idaho library.

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Only with far more charm than a grain silo.

Though smaller than the last one and plainer than the two before it, this one seemed to hold its own in the warmth department. Despite the same shelving and lighting as the previous beige monstrosity, this one at least felt like the employees liked it. A little.

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Every smallish town library ever. Not small-small town, but smallish.

This one seemed like a good ending spot, and it only took me $20 worth of gas to find the book I wanted. Hopefully I will get used to the idea of multiple libraries as opposed to just “The Library,” because there are plenty of libraries to love.

Except the horrific beige one. It gets no love. None.

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4 thoughts on “For the Love of Libraries

  1. I love libraries! Ours is part of a library system, so I can go to any of them and request that books be sent from other libraries. So I always use the one in the town closest to me, and just get my card renewed in my assigned tax-paying library.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. O.o Your four libraries look a lot like my Libraries of Significance.

    Libraries #1 & #3 strongly resemble the two halves of the gigantic college library in town (#1 is the non-fiction building, #3 is the fiction building). Library #4 definitely looks just like the smallish town library where I grew up, and Library #3 – my *favorite* looks just like the library in the town where I live now. It’s an old mansion that was donated to the town ages ago, and it’s made of gorgeousness. Only, we can’t go upstairs because they rent it for private functions. 😦

    I like your repeated noting of activities-in-libraries-other-than-books. Hiding is also one of my favorite library activities. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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