16 September 2013

Well Read

(Paula Erickson's guest blog made me laugh because as I sit here in my last few days at the beach, I have the selection for this month's book club staring at me. It's as if it is mocking me and every time I take a less challenging book to the beach, I can practically hear it laughing at me and calling me 'lightweight' because I don't want to delve into its complexities. So I have book club in a week and now I'm convincing myself I'll read the book on my plane  back to Los Angeles — Melinda)

The moral dilemma. Okay, well, not THE moral dilemma, just A moral dilemma, and I guess, really the tiniest of moral dilemmas. I have a library book that’s due this week, it’s my book club selection for this month, so I HAVE to read it, and soon, and I’ve been busy and have barely started it. I just went online to renew it, and it is “not renewable” – somebody else has it on request. So, now, I have to read this as fast as I can, or go out and buy it. The idea of simply reading it at my leisure past the due date (when I know somebody else is waiting for it) just seems wrong, even though the fine is only 10 cents a day.
I love the library. I know that’s antiquated, and yes, I have a Kindle. But I love reading books, actual books, and I’ve been going to the library since before I could read. I remember as a kid, my mom let me get four books at a time, I always agonized over the narrowing down process. Now I can spend as long as I want, and check out as many as I want, but finding the time to read everything is the eternal challenge. I could just buy them, I know. But somehow “books from the library” always call to me, despite the occasional inconvenience.
Often overlooked, public libraries offer so much more than just an endless (and free) selection of books. In addition to a great quiet place to browse and read, they have free internet and computers (essential for lots of school kids without access to or funds for going online at home), countless literacy programs, services for the blind, book clubs, reading lists, music programs, children’s services, and on and on.
Our library is one of the best -- The Nashville Public Library, which has 20 branches in addition to the Main Library, was the recipient of the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
According to its website,  The Nashville Public Library Foundation has raised more than $20 million to provide free educational programs, visual arts exhibits, building revitalization and significant collection enhancements since its establishment in 1997. 
-Paula Erickson

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