I love libraries, I truly do—the massive and magnificent, and the small and endearing. But I just made a trip to our local library, a tiny place that went through years of being closed, and emerged from its "renovation" with handicapped-accessible bathrooms (hooray!) and approximately 1/3 fewer books (huh?).
I think the idea was to make the whole physical space less cramped, more available as a place for people to read, or research, or sleep (judging by the impressive snoring the guy upstairs was doing), but—.
But I miss the books. A friend of mine tells me that I just need to use it as a way station, and to request books online that I can pick up there, and I do that and all, but it sort of kills me. I was just there with Chestnut, and I was unable to get:
Clan of the Cave Bear
The World According to Garp
The Color Purple.
I mean—nothing by Alice Walker? I feel like all those kids I see hanging out there would go ga-ga for The Color Purple, and it kills me that it's not there to just pick up. I know that list is a bit like "hits from the 70s and 80s!" but…it's the library. Aren't they supposed to hold on to books?
I think about how much Chestnut would enjoy those books, how much she had a great time reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, and what a drag it is that there aren't more books just lying around. I know, I know—e-readers, contemporary YA, space concerns, the internet, etc etc—but I say to you (or to me, who is really saying all of this of course): It's propinquity! Being near tons and tons of different books makes it more likely that people will pick one up and just like Alice fall down the rabbit hole into another dimension.
I want there to be a lot of different dimensions for people to fall down, that's all. Or maybe I'm being unfair, and I want her to fall through a rabbit hole into 1979? Probably so.
At any rate, she is downstairs contentedly reading Terry Pratchett, and I am up here complaining on my keyboard, and we have a whole slew of books on request. I'll let you know how it works out.