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For the love of the library

January 27, 2009

I have an undercover lover. I am in love with my local library.
I even called them yesterday to renew some books that I kind of knew were not due back quite yet.
Each time I go in, I find something new – a great cookery book (is it wrong to photocopy the recipes? Probably. But why make photocopiers and leave them in libraries?), a new novel or an anthology of poems I’d never buy.
And when I find a new book with a clean label and see that I am the first to take the book out, I scoop it up in my arms and wonder why no one else got to it first. A virgin book! How can it be?
The general nature of library books are that they are slightly grubby, flit from lover to lover and at worst, stained.
But when you find that new, fresh book – you can’t help it. You judge it by its cover – smooth, no peeling sticky-back plastic and it’s so available!
I often wonder who had the books out before me – what they do with their days, if they read in the bath or on the bus or like me, stack them up beside the bed and vow to give them all attention before their time with me expires.
Sadly I am rather shallow. I have to be hooked by the first page otherwise they’ll be marched back up the hill back to the their shelves – maybe I should persevere but that’s like telling someone who has had a bad and boring date to see that person again. ‘Give them a chance’ you say!
Yes, it does feel quite wrong not to finish a book before they’ve finished with you but with practice, it gets easier. And you know it’s always easier if you’re the one to finish things first.

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