Despite having a wonderful library in Williamsburg, I rarely darkened the door in the past decade. I am a book buyer rather than a borrower. It hasn’t always been that way. I’ve been a library volunteer, and in my commuting days–pre-Audible and ipod–I often stopped by the library to check out audio books, but once I worked from home, it just seemed like a chore to drive downtown. And, frankly, I was something of a snob: I was not interested in being on a waiting list for a book when I could just order it from Amazon or download it from Audible.
But the local library in our small town has great appeal. It is within biking and even walking distance of the house. It is small with somewhat odd hours. It has taken me some 10 months to finally stop by. But today, I pulled into the parking lot and headed in for my card. I left with Geraldine Brooks’ Caleb’s Crossing, Norah Jones’ Seems Like Home CD and an indy film called Lebanon, Pa. (My parents live about 10 minutes from Lebanon so it seemed like kismet.)
It is a small shop but they are part of a regional network so books can be ordered online and delivered to my branch. There are comfortable sofas, racks of magazines, free wifi, and Internet connected computers. I’m imagining pedaling over to drop off books and browse the shelves…once better weather arrives, of course, since it hardly made it above freezing today. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to settling in with another Brooks novel, this one based on the life of a 17th century Wampanoag Indian.
There were a few folks there, using the computers, looking for new books, and it felt good to be part of the community in this way. My only regret is that they don’t have a reading group. There is a book group at another branch in the larger town with a good grocery store. They are reading State of Wonder by Ann Patchett for January. Patchett’s been in the news recently with the opening of her book store in Nashville. Maybe it’s a sign?