Friday, October 20, 2023

How a library works


It is a rare and curious event when I find myself in the position of having to explain how the library works. To a large extent we all take it for granted. And I suppose I might take it even more for granted than you. After all, I have likely been to the library a few times more than you. I have been to the library, any library (but mostly one particular library) approximately, 7,241 times. I have lived part of my life in a library! So when I am talking about how it all works, it's suddenly so strange, like a word one keeps saying until it loses its meaning.

Well, a story, from today, to explain.

A little girl and her father were with me getting a library card. She was excited about this because she really liked books. But she was a little unclear on how it all worked.

"Who can buy all these books?" She asked, waving her hand at the entire library. "Is it one person. But it's so many books! How do you do it?"

It was a nice question.

I waved my own hand at all the neighborhoods surrounding us. "Everyone who lives around here pays a little bit of money every year." I said. "And gathered together it's enough to buy all these books and have a place for them. Then anyone can come here and take what they want until they're finished with it. Then they bring it back."

Oddly, this seemed pretty sensible to her.

I, on the other hand, found the whole thing shocking.

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