Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Pile of Books

When we lived in Albany, Oregon, the very good public library was nearby, and as my mother did with me when I was a little girl, I made regular trips there with our boy, who was about 3 years old. He mostly liked books about heavy equipment and trains, and was very happy for me to read to him (over and over and over) the "Golden Books" I picked up for 50-cents each at the grocery store about the Little Engine that Could, and steam shovels with clam shells, and The Huff and Puff Express. Indeed, I used to be able to recite many of those stories by memory (and he did too and would not let me skip pages). But he also liked the books we got at the library, and especially the Richard Scarry books, which I ended up buying for ourselves because he was wearing out the library copy.

If I read the lines Ma and Pa and Pickles and Penny Pig are going on a picnic. Here comes Ma with the picnic basket. Please hurry up Ma" once, I read them a hundred times.We wore our own copy out. Wonderful books.

It was a great day for me when I found the library had the great series of books about Frog and Toad by the wonderful author Arnold Lobel. I loved these simple, sweet, gentle stories about those two friends...

and not surprisingly, our boy did too.

A poem by Arnold Lobel particularly fits the situation I find myself in now:

Books to the ceiling
Books to the sky
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
And the bit about the "long beard" is not too far from the truth, either. If my chin sprouts one more wiry white hair, I will be sorely tempted to start using the electric razor we bought our son for his birthday earlier in the month.

At any rate, on Thursday I went to the library to return a book that was due back, and I decided to try a book by Jody Picoult. She seems to have written a lot of books, if the book section at Walmart* is any indication, but I had never read one.

The library had this on the shelf.

While the clerk was checking out the book out to me, the assistant librarian heard my voice and popped her head out of the work room and said, "Oh, you remember those Alexander McCall Smith books you wanted us to buy? Well they have arrived. Do you want them?"

Yes, I certainly did want them.

Because of budget cuts, our library has had to struggle to come up with innovative ideas to get new books for its patrons to read, and it developed the "Adopt an Author" program. It's simple: The patron pays for the books the library buys at a discount, and then gets to read the books first before they are offered for general circulation.

A few weeks ago, my friend Judy told me that the library had acquired the last book in Alexander McCall Smith series about Isabel Dalhousie, The Lost Art of Gratitude" and when she returned the book, she had the librarian hold it for me so I could read it. I decided the library should have the first ones in the series as well. I had read the first two books and obviously quite a bit had happened to Isabel since then. I needed to find out the details. I told the library to buy the books. And they did

She brought a stack of books over to the counter. So instead of walking out with one novel, I brought  home 6 books.

Yesterday, I took the first two books back because, as I said, I had already read them and there was no point of them sitting here at the house when I knew Judy would want to read them. I asked the librarian to tell her. She did. But there are still four of them piled up here... 

So now in the evenings, I have put away the coloring book and have turned off the television, and am hunkered down on the couch with hot tea and the books.

*In the interest of fair reporting and to balance the "rant" of a few days ago, Richard bought a box of kosher salt at Walmart that was $3 cheaper than the price we paid for the same box of salt at the local grocery. Knowing prices so that you can compare prices is the key!

1 comment:

Oklahoma Granny said...

With all the budget cuts going on I can certainly imagine that libraries might be in trouble. What an innovative way for a library to put books on the shelves.