Jump to content

Going to the Library


Library books  

34 members have voted

You do not have permission to vote in this poll, or see the poll results. Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

Recommended Posts

I am a library junkie. I'm a member of two library systems, and currently I have 20 things on old... at EACH of them.

Did I mention I live in AMERICA'S BRAINIEST CITY? ::w00t::

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

To reflect current library trends, the poll question should not be limited to books, but should include CDs, DVDs, and in case it's not perceived as being the umbrella category of "books," audiobooks.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites

I rarely have books from library. (I read slowly and hate the pressure of returning them on time.) I do get lots of movies from the library though. LA County System has a great film selection.

I go to Cerritos Library about once a month to take a look at CT and Commonweal.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Link to post
Share on other sites

The first suburb we lived in when we moved to LA/Orange County (all pretty much a big gridwork of roads and freeways to me) was La Palma in OC, which had a great public library. I kept my card there even after we moved to a town in LA county, and would drive down once or twice a month to load up on books. They were always up-to-date on best-sellers and my favorite authors' latest works.

Where we live now, the main branch of the county library is so-so. Often they'll have book 1 or book 2 of a series, but no volumes before or after, driving me crazy. The wait for a current book is anywhere from a month to a year. It's been a lesson in the virtue of patience. On the upside, they have recently been expanding their collection of DVDs remarkably, and well beyond mere "blockbusters." Two-night DVD loans are free, too.

Also, I've been trying out audiobooks, and their collection is spotty, but interesting, and expanding on CD. Same problem, though--book 1, no book 2. Right now I'm most frustrated because they seem to have lost The Magician's Nephew from the HarperAudio set :angry:

Edited by BethR

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I put 11-15 because that might make a good average. Usually what happens is that I accumulate books as the semester progresses, and have to take several trips back at the end to return all of them. I read them whenever I have time to, and usually get through about 15% of them.

That's just how eye roll.

Link to post
Share on other sites

(Though it will never, ever replace the Arlington, VA main branch in my affections.)

As Ellen and I have discussed, Arlington is my hometown, and although I now live in the mighty populous and absurdly wealthy Fairfax County, I continue to visit Arlington's Central Library once a week. Fairfax is good for books, and audiobooks, but Arlington gives one-week rentals on DVDs and VHS tapes, as well as three-week checkouts for music CDs.

Right now I'm listening to Ryan Adams' "Heartbreaker" from Arlington and wondering why I never bothered to check out this guy's stuff before now. I also have "The Producers," "Roads to Koktebel," and, uh, "Flightplan" (hey, it's FREE) for the week.

From Fairfax, I've got CD audiobooks of "All the King's Men" (I gave up after two discs; I suspect much of this book's appeal is in the rhythm of the writing, rather than the content of the story, and if so, I'm guessing the upcoming film, which won't reproduce the poetic force of the prose, is doomed to failure; but I could be wrong, of course) and "Everything Is Illuminated," which, although I've been tempted to give up on, is still in my CD player, on disc 4 of 10. It's nowhere near the experiece of Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," but there are story elements that have kept me listening, for now.

Next up: Scott Smith's hardcover of "The Ruins" (from Arlington) and T.C. Boyle's "Talk Talk" on audio, from either Fairfax or Arlington. Whichever comes first, because I've put it on hold in both systems.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife laments not getting to the library more, but we're both in the middle of a few books right now as it is. When she was a kid, she would check out as many books as she could, be done with them half way through the week, and have to find something else to do before they went back.

Our library, too small for it's own good, is only about 3 blocks from our house. It's a great location, in the middle of town, on the creek and right next to the parks. In the past we rented quite a few DVDs from them, but quickly ran through their collection. Friends have suggested they have a better selection now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I never used to make that much use of the library, but then I married a library technician ... suddenly I'm not paying as much as I used to, to watch videos ...

Since the libraries are unionized and I am a poor, struggling freelance writer, my wife makes more money than I do, and she will return to her job once the maternity leave ends in February. But she has often said that, if I DID somehow get a better-paying job than hers, and if she DID cut back on her own work, she would probably still want to work a few token shifts a week there ... if only so that she would not have to pay any late fees ...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

I live in Fairfax City, VA, and uses the Fairfax County library regularly, so this article hits home.

I'm part of the "problem." Since moving nearly four years ago to Fairfax from Arlington, I've complained that Fairfax is way behind the curve, not stocking DVDs or many audiobooks. (Arlington really sets the pace in Northern Virginia.) Decisions to add such material do, however, have costs -- namely, less space for books. But even if the library stocked only books, the old ones eventually have to go, in order to make room for the new, right?

BTW, Fairfax Library services recently e-mailed me to let me know, as a follow-up to a long-ago e-mail I sent them regarding the above issue, that they have begun stocking DVDs. I subsequently inquired about this to a librarian at the Information desk at my local branch, and she told me the libraries are starting with the usual PBS/educational fare on DVD, then slowly adding dramas of popular books. So, for instance, Angela's Ashes was on the DVD shelf, and the librarian told me the Harry Potter films were also part of the growing collection.

Hello, Grisham -- So Long, Hemingway? With Shelf Space Prized, Fairfax Libraries Cull Collections

[T]housands of novels and nonfiction works have been eliminated from the Fairfax County collection after a new computer software program showed that no one had checked them out in at least 24 months.

Public libraries have always weeded out old or unpopular books to make way for newer titles. But the region's largest library system is taking turnover to a new level.

Like Borders and Barnes & Noble, Fairfax is responding aggressively to market preferences, calculating the system's return on its investment by each foot of space on the library shelves -- and figuring out which products will generate the biggest buzz. So books that people actually want are easy to find, but many books that no one is reading are gone -- even if they are classics.

"We're being very ruthless," said Sam Clay, director of the 21-branch system since 1982. "A book is not forever. If you have 40 feet of shelf space taken up by books on tulips and you find that only one is checked out, that's a cost."

That is the new reality for the Fairfax system and the future for other libraries. As books on tape, DVDs, computers and other electronic equipment crowd into branches, there is less room for plain old books.

So librarians are making hard decisions and struggling with a new issue: whether the data-driven library of the future should cater to popular tastes or set a cultural standard, even as the demand for the classics wanes.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites
If I were a member of that community, I'd create a very vocal group whose members arbitrarily and frequently check out random volumes from the library.

Exactly. My wife has already posted a call to arms on our church's discussion board. I'm sure we're not alone. The population of Fairfax, as you might know, exceeds 1 million, a number that would strain even the most well-run library system.

I'm sure there will be a lot of blowback from this article. I might post some of it here, if it's not too inside-the-Beltway.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

The university in town (Western Washington University) has a great community borrower program. $25/year. The selection of DVDs alone warrants the fee. Between the public library and this library I can almost always find what I'm looking for.

If any of you live near universities, I would recommend looking into their community borrower programs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...

YOUmedia pulls in the youngsters. I'm intrigued:

The room contains a performance space, sound recording equipment, cameras and more than 100 laptop and desktop computers with media creation tools and software. Mentors teach kids how to work the equipment and do projects, and visiting artists offer free workshops.

The space has more than a thousand books, too, and library officials say kids who use the space check out a lot of books.

YOUmedia is based on research supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and designed by a team of graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to frequent the library on a weekly basis in my childhood. Mom went to the grocery store after dropping me off at the library. Grocery shopping was always over too soon. ::blush::

But now, I don't have time to visit the library and even if I did, I don't have time to read books I may check out. :cry:. So I order from Amazon instead and just stack up the books I don't have time to read, but at least there's no pressure to get them done by a deadline. :)

One of the things I plan to do after graduating in the spring is to read the books I *want* to read, instead of those I must read (some of those have been great, I must admit.) I may even have time to read during spring semester, since I don't have any literature classes :oops:, but I don't want to get my hopes up. :)

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually take the kids every week, Saturday morning to check out books and videos from the local, small-ish library. Occasionally we stay for story time/craft time.

the kids seem to enjoy it, and I get a chance to check out a book every once in a while.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The very existence of this thread makes me very, very happy. :lol:

The latest McSweeney's Dispatches From A Public Librarian post should be read by EVERYONE here IHMO

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/librarian/notfunny.html

"For the past year, the institutes that boldly sit as a cornerstone to every metro city and even most small towns have been threatened. Unlike police and fire protection, there are many who believe public libraries are a luxury and not a necessity to cities—people who believe when money is a bit harder to find, then you simply close the library doors for a couple days. I hope you are not one of them."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

I would be lost without libraries and archives. The good thoughts I have about doing a PhD are all related to being in libraries and archives. A few bad ones too - mostly because of the incredibly unhelpful attitude of british librarians. I exempt archivists from this, and it is obviously, a generalisation, but it certainly stands true for a large number of them. This may be because of a distinct lack of funding - using the library of congress was a breeze in comparison to the british national library.

And my childhood was spent either inside a library or inside a book begotten from a library. So yes, all hail to this most noble of public institutions!

Edited by gigi

"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

Link to post
Share on other sites

My brother is a librarian and we have an ongoing argument. Libraries have finite space, so for additions, something has to go. His system no longer has VHS. Doesn't matter if the film is available on DVD or not - VHS is over as far as he's concerned. Even good books, books he personally cherishes, if they don't move in say 5 years, are gone. If something like Leave of Grass sat on the shelf, it wouldn't.

So I'm beginning to think maybe I should make a list of some things I really love, and make sure I check them out every couple years.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love libraries, and willingly vote to have my taxes support them any chance I get. That said, I rarely visit my local library. I buy books. I write in them, fold the pages back, crack the spines, and regularly abuse the books I love. I couldn't do that with a library book. As discretionary income shrinks/disappears (unemployment will do that), my habits may change. But I still love visiting Barnes and Noble or, better yet, Half Price Books, and emerging with a big stack o' books to keep me occupied for a while. They're all over my house, in every room, and they fight for shelf space with music. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...