Earlier today I found myself in a very unusual and distressing situation…38,000 feet in the air with nothing to read. That’s right, I finished my book in the middle of a flight to Florida, and had nothing else with me to read. Thankfully, my i-pod saved me from complete ruin, as I was able to watch some stored episodes of Sex and the City, and then play a few rounds of Wordle.
As we were walking off the plane, I clutched my husband’s arm. “I have to get a book,” I gasped in desperation.
“Absolutely,” he readily agreed, knowing that his life would be fit for nothing if the ravenous reader was left to starve. “Shall we go to the bookstore?”
I sighed. My new economic reality simply does not include buying books. Frightfully sad, but true. “I think the library,” I replied.
Just down the road from our home here in Naples is a beautiful new library, built in Spanish mission style so popular in Southwest Florida. It opened in 2005, back in the heyday when money around here was flowing faster than the tides off the Gulf of Mexico. I searched out my library card and we headed over directly after lunch.
I’m a regular customer of my library at home, which is one of the best libraries in the metropolitan Detroit area. I’ve always been proud of our library, and even more so since the opening of a new, two story building just a few blocks away from my house. Our township is gritty and blue-collarish, but our library is full to bursting with fiction, new and old, the latest in audio books, and dozens of computer stations. We even have a in-house cafe with wireless access. Quite spiffy for a community that sits on the very border of Detroit, one of the hardest hit economic areas in the country. Usually within 10 minutes of walking into my library at home, my book bag is filled to the brim…and that’s before I’ve left the New Fiction area.
Obviously, I’m spoiled. So I was not prepared for the dearth of good fiction available here in Naples. Oh, there were plenty of romance series, and cozy mysteries, and all the best sellers from Grisham to Patterson to Steele.
But there was no Laurie King. And I was looking for Laurie King.
There was no Madeleine L’Engle, and I had a hankering for Madeleine L’Engle.
There were none of the great new authors whose books have been showing up all over on your blogs.
But after today’s outing, I was much more appreciative of my own library, I can assure you of that.
And then I read this story ~ that all the libraries in Philadelphia will be closing on October 1, because of budget cuts!
Close the libraries? Shouldn’t there be a law against that? Aren’t libraries a fundamental American right? (If they aren’t, then shouldn’t they be?)
For a moment, I felt a bit of panic. Whatever will I do if they close my library? I could never afford the cost of my reading habit. Suddenly, I envisioned myself as a desperate book junkie, reduced to selling my belongings (or my blood!) to maintain my weekly supply.
I’ve since calmed down a bit. (A few chapters of a good book will do that, at least for me.)
But I’ve realized once again how much I love libraries in general, and my own in particular.
BTW, for those among you who love to write, the new prompts at Cafe Writing are all about Libraries. Do check them out. *wink*