Friday, August 14, 2009

Public Library Pros and Cons

Just another reminder to leave a comment in Wednesday's post to be entered to win Jamie Carie's The Duchess and the Dragon historical romance!

Just this week, I went down to my public library and got a library card. This is a library I went to quite a bit as a child, from borrowing books to playing in piano concerts there. I had lost my card a long time ago, so hubby and I both got one.

I was NOT expecting the third degree to get a card. The guy behind the desk asked us if we could provide proof of living, working or being a student in our county. So I gave him my driver's license and hubby gave him his student ID. All was clear.

He pulls out this card and it had this superhero "family" on it. My husband, ever the comic book lover since he was a child, says, "I don't recognize these superheroes." The guy behind the desk shoots him a look, like, "What?!" Then he says, "You really don't know who Captain Info is?" People around the desk checking out books are now looking at us like we're foreigners.

Captain Info? We looked at each other and shook our heads. Have we been under rocks since we last were in the South? Who the heck is Captain Info?

Then the little twerp shakes his head, laughing, to inform us that Captain Info is just a local icon created by the library to get more kids to read. There's also Storyteller (who looks an awful like Wonder Woman with different coloring), Page (who looks like Wendy from Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers) and Dewey (who is a cross between a martian and a Stark Trek character). We're nodding, as obviously that's a good thing...getting kids to read. We just would have preferred a less humorous (to him) and more informative (to us) introduction to the revered Captain and his random little family. You know?

Then we go in search of books. I'm looking for the fiction section, my hubs is looking for possible books for school. The good news is that the library has really grown since last time I darkened the doors. In fact, the old piano recital room is no longer, books covering every available space. I see with delight there is a huge fiction section, so I head that way.

It dawns on me, though, that this ain't no Borders. The fiction isn't arranged by genre. Every book is done alphabetically. However, my local library did make the attempt to put stickers on the spines. Just about every book had one, or several. (The above are actually what the stickers my library uses looks like.) So that was handy trying to search for Christian fiction. I just looked for the picture that someone resembles the one to the left here: Jesus with a halo around his head (although at the library, it was blue). I wasn't entirely pleased with the selection. But's a library, the books are "free" (minus the third degree, a slight embarrassment about not knowing Captain Info, and 10 cents a day late fee - which I don't plan on incurring).

So today, I'm starting my first book from the library. Part of me hopes I really enjoy this relationship with my local library. Part of me hopes I don't like the books as much, because I won't have them at my ready disposal to read again. I'm totally a Borders Brat...spoiled, buying whatever book I wanted, when I wanted. But when you don't have a job yet...that's really not an option! :)

Q4U: How many of you are card-carrying members of your local library? Any other Captain Infos our there?

Wordle: signature


Shelli said...

i have a card but no hero ;(

Ralene said...

Being military, I haven't bothered as of yet. But my girls are getting old enough, that I may have to go ahead and get one soon.

Maggie said...

i'm so sorry y'all had a somewhat weird/bad experience. our flowood library is great. i don't know about the oxford/lafayette county one, but the rankin county library system connects seven or eight libraries, so the selection is pretty good. you can go online and put a book on hold and pick it up pretty much that day if it's at your branch, next day if it's at another.
the children's section is great, caroline asks every day to go to the library.
the main complaint i have is their card. it's a keychain card and it somehow expires every, like, three months! it seems like i have to call and get them to renew it all the time. they're very sweet about it, though.
i'd be so disappointed if i were you!! ugh, i'm disappointed for you! we love going to library!

PatriciaW said...

Definitely a library woman. Started early as a child, skipped a whole lot of years in early adulthood, but got back to it recently. When I couldn't buy books and/or had no where to put them, the library was salvation.

And the kids love it, although I sometimes have to promise to buy books after we take them back.

Find out whether you can search for and reserve books online. Then, find out whether they have self-checkout, as my local library now does. Eliminates the less-than-humorous library clerk.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jeannie, I've had a card for years. I love the library. I write inspirational historicals and make treks to the reference section to do research. The rare book section is awesome.

My favorite find is the microfilm records of our local newspaper, the oldest continuous one in the state of California, The Mountain Democrat. I can read copies dating back to the 1850s. How cool is that? I use actual events in my stories, which are set in El Dorado County where I live.

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh for sure. We head over to the library at least once a week! My kids are addicted and I LOVE that! They think the best place to go on a Friday night is the Library! If that ain't good trainin', I don't know what is! :)

Jill Kemerer said...

I haunt my library every week, sometimes more! We have sixteen libraries in our county and I can borrow from any of them--it's awesome! And they have DVD's, CD's, magazines, books, you name it. Have fun getting to know yours!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i'm definitely going to check out whether they let you search for books and checkout online...then just come in and get them. when my daughter gets older, maybe then i'll start taking her. should be fun for us all....i mean, who doesn't like captain info, storyteller, page and dewey? :)

Stephanie Faris said...

I do the online thing exclusively. Every book in the Nashville library system (which is HUGE) is included...and I can pick any book and reserve it and have it delivered to whichever library I choose. It's WONDERFUL. I pick it out online and they call me when it's there and I go pick it up. You should definitely do it that way if it's available to you.

Katie Ganshert said...

I'm a library nut. I get most of my books via the library. I don't buy them unless they are super super good. :)

Tara said...

I love the library--I love to go there to write because it's usually quiet. But I also like to check out a stack of books. I make my kids go with me. My card doesn't have the super-hero family, so that may explain why my oldest son only likes the video section.

Krista Phillips said...

I am... but I have a fine to both of the ones I'm a member of (the city and county) so I haven't been in a while. Yeah, so slap my hand.

My FAVORITE library was actually in MN as it had a section to the side with ALL the CBA fiction in it. I could go directly there and see which ones were new, browse my favorite authors, without having to hunt and peck through the masses (many with very, uh, questionable covers for my then 16 year old self...)

My library's here just have them intermixed with no markings, so alas... I'm reserved to hunt and pecking.

Jessica said...

I love my library. :-) No captains that I know of though. It is tough to find Christian fiction. Usually I scan the shelves and titles. Sometimes I can find some just by the title.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

you know...i just realized that my library DOES do all this online stuff! WAY cool. i'm glad i blogged about me checking into things.

Need More Words said...

I have so much more time to read now that I am not working. Not working also means that I can't buy as many books as I used to so the library has become my best friend. Our town has library branches so the books are in many places but all I have to do is go online and put a book on hold and have it shipped to my branch. How easy is that, no running all over town trying to find a book.
Because I am a budding writer I read a lot!!!

T. Anne said...

Oh how I love my library let me count the ways lol! I abuse my priveleges often yet I haven't been all summer *sigh* When we go, we pull out up to 30 plus books between me and the kids. And BTW I went on vacation once for a week unwittingly leaving due books at home and had a twenty dollar late fee (there might have been a movie in there). That experience has yet to be lived down at my house.

Karin said...

I don't technically have a card...they just use my license :)

I love the library, but I actually use it more for writing. My house is too crowded and cluttered to really focus. The library is so sterile that I can get a lot more written there!