Monday, April 12, 2010

National Library Week

Let's distract ourselves with a little rambly post about libraries, in celebration of National Library Week, shall we?

As any good book blogger worth her salt, I adore my local library and use it all the time. Like, weekly. Once I discovered that I could request books online and have them delivered -- for free -- to my local branch, I have been a frequent visitor to the little Piedmont Avenue library, which is, I think, both the smallest branch in Oakland but which also houses the largest collection of LGBT literature. Kind of awesome. Not that I read much LGBT lit (not sure why) but it's nice that's it's there. I always take a quick look in that section to see if anything looks interesting.

So, let's see. Let's do a Top 10 Rambly Facts about Daphne and Libraries:
  1. From as far back as I can remember, I have used the library frequently. I learned to read very early and some of my earliest memories are of going to our little library (in my small town of 3000) and loading up with books. That was back in the days of stamping the cards and writing your name on the cards... there are still a lot of children's books in the Philomath collection with my name written on it multiple times.
  2. We used to have those read-a-thon summer reading challenges and my librarian used to roll her eyes at me, because I usually reached the top count by around week two.
  3. I volunteered at that same little local library a few summers when I was a teenager, helping kids do book-related crafts and such. I've always loved children's books and art, so the two together was an obvious choice for a summer volunteer job.
  4. One time in college, I left my wallet in the city library bathroom. I was about to go on a trip so it was stuffed with cash (well, "stuffed" being a relative term since I was a college student). I realized that I had left it there in the middle of my Russian Literature final. Gah!! Thankfully, library patrons are wonderful people and someone returned it (all the cash intact)
  5. The city library (in the larger town next to my small town) had a great reading room, full of big soft wingback chairs and tons of magazines. I used to go there and just read and be cozy when I had a break from class or before work (I worked at the newspaper and so worked in the afternoon/evening). Libraries need cozy reading rooms.
  6. When I first moved to California, my local library (The Alameda Free Library) was housed in a really cool old building. Too bad it shut down within the first two months of my living here. The library moved to the high school temporarily, while the new library was constructed. I didn't go to the library much during this time. The temporary location was sort of depressing.
  7. The new Alameda library is totally green -- insulated with shredded denim, uses solar panels, etc. It also has a nice little cafe inside and is an extremely cozy and nice library. I used it a lot until I moved to Oakland. I still go there sometimes on my lunch break from work (I work in Alameda).
  8. The Oakland library system is so much larger than the Alameda system. I can find pretty much anything I want. Combine that resource with the Alameda library and the Berkeley library system, and there is an endless supply of books at my fingertips. Needless to say, I am delighted by this and take full advantage of it all the time.
  9. My local library branch has been offering free handmade bookmarks at the checkout counter. I'm considering making up some and delivering them as I have taken and enjoyed quite a few myself. They are just simple cardboard bookmarks, sometimes just collaged paper or strips of children's art (which make lovely patterns), but it's fun to look to see what's available. I don't know who donates these. I think I'll make some on my vacation next week.
  10. The final and most important fact about me and the library is that, well, I LOVE the library and would willingly lobby/fight/collect signatures/speak/go door-to-door for the library. There pretty much isn't anything else I would do these things for, but I consider the library a lifeline and I really don't know what I would do without it. I think I've only bought maybe two or three books (the "just for reading" kind, not reference books like health or cookbooks) in the past 2 years because of the library, and that certainly has helped my budget! It is a constant source of joy that I can get pretty much any book I want, for free, delivered to just a few blocks away, anytime. It's one of my favorite things ever.
So... hooray for libraries and hooray for Neil Gaiman, this year's Library Week Chair! Am currently watching the Neverwhere series and it's quite campy good fun.


Tammie said...

hooray for the library.

i love love love this post!

i totally think you should donate some of your bookmarks. i love mine!(although i have to admit that lucy routinely tries to turn it into a choker necklace. maybe you should also go into jewelry making.)

Daphne said...

Shoot, I am all out of those cool stones... but I was thinking of making some awesome paper ones of some sort. I actually might start a teeny tiny jewelry thing... I had one a few years ago but it was too much for me. Maybe with simpler designs, it would go better...

kiirstin said...

Daphne, this post just made my day. I am forwarding it to my co-workers. We're Canadian, so our Library Week isn't until October, but this made me so happy. It's a good reminder that no matter where we are, what we do and provide at the library is going to touch people. Thank you!

Stefanie said...

What a good library person you are! I bet if you make some bookmarks for them they will be quite popular. I know I'd want one! I am so glad I work in a library because my public library branch has been closed since last summer for renovations and won't be open until early 2011! And the next closest library doesn't have hours that work for me. I've used my library card so much my signature has rubbed off the back and I have my barcode memorized :)

Daphne said...

Bookmarks, coming right up!