It’s safe to guess that since I’m a librarian, I love libraries. True, true. But for whatever reason, I was never a big library user before I was in one 40+ hours a week. The thrill of borrowing books has nothing on the thrill of taking new books home from the store to keep forever and loan to friends.
I was explaining this to someone recently. I don’t really take pictures that often, and when I do, they usually sit in a box for the rest of eternity. I use my bookshelves as photo albums instead. I can look at the books and remember what I was doing when I read each one, and it’s great, because another person could look at my bookshelf and experience the very same process with their own memories (assuming they’ve read some of the same books I have). Books aren’t a perfect substitute for real pictures, but I’m okay with the trade-offs.
Anyway, today gave me an example of why using a library can be better than buying books. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m planning my first garden and have no earthly idea what I’m doing. A few minutes in the gardening section of our collection definitely armed me for battle (the 635s, in case you wanted to know where Mr. Dewey put the gardening books). Now there’s a stack of ten books waiting for me to carry home and dive into.
If I had gone to the beloved bookstore, I would have been forced to find the one perfect book that addresses all of my gardening needs. Not at the library. I have a few books about starting a container kitchen garden (back yard plan), one about gardening in Virginia, another about designing a garden that looks good all year, one on herbs, one on weather-resilient plants, and last but not least, a thin book with 20 garden designs broken down by stylistic and plant preference. Whew. And when I get home and realize that I only need three or four of those books, I haven’t lost a blessed thing. In fact, I’ll be just a little bit stronger because I lugged them all from the library to my car to my house and back again.