I don't have a good relationship with libraries. Maybe it's just my local library. Maybe not. And this is despite me loving books, not wanting to waste money and not liking clutter.
In addition to the reasons above for me to like libraries, I have some good (great) memories from working in a local one for a few years during high school. That's where I met my loyal blog reader (right, you read it? Sometimes? Maybe?) and wonderful friend Moira. The library was in a mall and that added to the fun. The mix of stores, fast food and Moira and I at age 17 was amazing. There were a few guys who worked at the mall too, I recall. Ok, so all of that really had nothing to do with libraries. We could have worked in a light bulb store and had fun as long as we got breaks together.
Still, I kind of expect myself to like libraries and it doesn't work out that way.
Today I dropped by the local library with my son to pick up a book that I have on hold. There's a big chess set there (really big - you walk on the board and move the pieces around). My son set up the pieces and then we played. When I had time to look around, I looked at new and staff-selected books on display. None of them appealed to me. Instead, I felt like I didn't even like reading. And that's not me. I love reading, I really do.
I think of the contrast of this library visit to visits I make to book stores. There, books on subjects I'm not particularly interested in appeal to me. I would take so many books if I could. At the library, I can and I don't want to. It's weird.
Is it the dust jackets on books at libraries that get me? Is it that I just like brand new books? Is it that I just like books to be mine? Do I on some level fear other people's germs and whether or not they're hygienic with books at home? There is that. Hmm.
I really believe in equal opportunity to knowledge and other things in society. The concept of a library, where knowledge is available to all, is wonderful. I just don't enjoy the actual library.
I never get the idea that the staff is very happy to be there either. I'm not even sure that they love books. And I really don't understand that.
"The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read." Abraham Lincoln (And I would add, I'd like it new, clean and without a dust jacket. Thank you)