If you know me at all, you know I am not much of a library user. It's not that I don't like the library or that I don't appreciate how important libraries are; it's just that I prefer to own my books. I don't like to have to read them on someone else's schedule and I definitely don't like returning books I have loved. Plus, what kind of stuff do people have on their hands when they are touching the library books? They could be filthy. (Yes, I am aware that people can have the same unclean hands and leaf through a book at the bookstore before I come along and buy it. I never said I was rational!) Despite my lack of patronage, I always make sure to get a library card whenever we move to a new city. And I often donate books to their used book sale, happily buy new to me books from said sale, and have even run in a couple of fundraising races here to benefit the library. The community and country would definitely be far worse off without them whether I choose to use them myself or not.
So I've used my library card here in Charlotte a grand total of twice. The first time was a couple of years ago when one of my bookclubs chose to read a mystery (with bodies and murders and such!) that I knew there was no way I would ever consider keeping. In all honesty, I wasn't even sure I'd ultimately read it. So no point in buying it really. I found it on the new release shelves at the library, checked it out, and went on my way. Unfortunately, my way was on vacation and that was the summer that I sank the boat. (Have you not read about that fiasco and 70 odd soggy books? Enjoy it here.) Not only did I end up paying to replace that waterlogged book, but because I got it from the library, instead of paying for the mass market copy, I got to buy the library a brand new library bound copy. I don't begrudge them that but oh the irony!
And that brings me to my second use of the library card. Today. I have been plugging my way through a book I've had for a while and in fact it is one that also went down on the boat with the library's original copy of Blackman's Coffin. This book that I'm reading now that was rescued from Davy Jones' locker? It's taken me a while to read because I am having to gingerly peel each page apart to read it. That's not the worst of it though: the color plates in the book are completely fused together as a result of their deep-sixing. And I tried to get creative to separate them because who reads a book with beautiful color photographs and doesn't want to see them? Certainly not me. In any case, re-wetting and trying to carefully pull each page apart doesn't work, just in case you thought you might try it yourself (for unknown reasons). And sometimes the color plate sections are completely fused to the pages immediately prior and immediately following them, making those pages impossible to read. Now imagine if you will, yours truly the anal retentive coming across this situation. You're welcome for the laugh! But I am nothing if not crafty and I hopped onto the library website, looked up the book, found the branch closest to me with it on the shelf, and added it into my daily errand run. Success! Not only was the book right where it was supposed to be (in fact, it wasn't checked out at any branch at the moment), but it's the same copy I have so the page numbers match exactly. And angels sang hosannas in the highest.
Yay for my local library! Keeping the gnashing of teeth and the rending of garments to a minimum for me today, they rock. And now I can finish the book tonight after having checked out all of the lovely photographs and all will be right with the world. (But how weird is it that 100% of my library card usage is in conjunction with sinking the boat 3 1/2 years ago?)