Eight Crazy Nights, or Books for Hanukkah
The Edge of the Forest: New Edition

Are You a Library Person?

Over at the Constant Reader group at Goodreads, someone asked, "Are you a bookstore person or a library person?" This was my reply.

I grew up going to the library and getting big stacks of books to take home. In my Southern city we had both a big Carnegie library downtown and a convenient neighborhood branch. The downtown library was across the street from the bus station, a Sears, and the YWCA, so I considered the whole experience of borrowing books there to be very cosmopolitan.

For a while when my son was younger I bought tons of books at the local Goodwill store for a song. Then I realized we just had too many books, we weren't reading them all, and I took 25 paper bags full of books (grownups' and kids') back to Goodwill and the local library for its annual sale.

I use my New England town's public library a lot, and I'm lucky because it has a nice-sized acquisitions budget. And what isn't available can be ordered through inter-library loan. I've pretty much gotten over having to have all my books around me, though quite a few manage to creep into our house and clutter our shelves. I weed books several times a year.

In my hometown, the Carnegie library became a state office building and the Sears became the flagship Eudora Welty Library. Every time I go in there when I visit I expect to smell candy and peanuts at the entrance. And I still feel a little cosmopolitan just to be downtown.


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My first love was the library, and my first ambition (after cashier) was to be a librarian. I hardly ever go to the library anymore, but the smell of a library still excites me more than any bookstore. I like to browse the shelves and stacks, and am put off by having to use a computer instead of asking a nice gray-haired lady for what I want. And I know what you mean about the main downtown library (mine was in Cleveland)--so sophisticated.

I'm a bit of split personality on this one. I love libraries, but I like to own the books, too. I have fond childhood memories of both riding my bike to the library in my home town and scouring used bookstores with my mother. These days I have so many review books in my house that I frequently go to the library to volunteer, and end up not bringing any books home.

MJN, yes, that wonderful smell of books. I love it.

Jen, I would have loved to ride my bike to the library, but even the branch was on too busy a road. I've often thought of doing it now! It would certainly save fuel...

Every time I get interviewed for a job, whoever's interviewing me always asks why I became a librarian. I always say it's because no one would pay me to read all day and I feel better when I'm surrounded by all the books. People always laugh like I'm joking, but it's true. I borrow most of the books I read from the library where I work, but, of course, I buy a lot of the books for the library, too--so it kind of fulfills both needs. Not that I don't buy books for my home--I just tend to be selective about it.

I live 4 doors down from our library, and we go there a lot because a. it's warmer/cooler and b. my home computer hates blogger! And we always go home with books. It's interesting to see what the boys pick for themselves--Arsnic, anyone? I have now read it twice.

But on the other hand, I find it very comforting to be surrounded by my own books. Plus, if you put floor to ceiling bookshelves on north faceing walls, it keeps the house warmer.

I, too, love both the library and the bookstore. I own way to many books, but there is something special about having books around you always, you know, in case you want to verify something or to touch a favorite. I love the Welty library!

Adrienne, you get the best of both--all the books plus the deciding what to buy!

Charlotte, wow, I would love to live that close to our library. As it is, I'm there several times a week. Lucky you!

Wisteria, I am so hoping that the renovation of the King Edward Hotel brings new life to downtown Jackson. Wouldn't that be wonderful!

We too are blessed with being within walking distance of both a library and a good bookstore. We love going to both! I rarely buy books for my home though,unless they are gifts. I love interlibrary loan and informal book exchanges. I have another blessing; a library job with a large book budget. The best of both worlds indeed!

I can still remember the exact day I got my first library card. I was five years old and stuck home with the mumps the week I finally learned to write both my first and last names; the requirement for getting a library card. My mom brought mine home with a stack of books expertly picked out just for me. When I close my eyes I can see it sitting on the mantle above the fireplace in our old living room.

I have so many wonderful memories of my mom taking me to our tiny local branch library as a kid...she'd enroll me in all those summer reading programs, and make sure I had a nice stack of books to read every week. I can still remember winning some kind of little dinosaur-related toys...

Since TadMack and I started blogging book reviews, I've fallen in love with the library all over again (since I just can't BUY all those books--and my husband wouldn't let me, anyway!!). We're lucky to have a pretty darn good county library in town, and a handful of branches with a good interlibrary loan system. I try to limit my book buying to a) things I can't find at the library, and b) things I know I will want to read again.

Cloudscome and A. Fortis, I've so enjoyed hearing about everyone's experiences at the library. I can remember my card and my mom's, too. Isn't that funny! Maybe I had to use hers to check out adult book? I don't know. I hear there's a nice piece in the Wall St. Journal today about a writer's remembrance of the Donnell Library in NYC.I don't think it's available online, though.

What a great question! I'm a bookstore person - love the noise, the newness, the sense of first person cracking the book's spine open... and the cash register!

Hi, Kyra. I have to admit that I was in several different bookstores over the holidays and had a great time amid all the newness.

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