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July 25th, 2005

Libraries

I love me some libraries.

As a kid, I loved our school library and was constantly checking books in and out. My favorite book was a sci-fi book written in the early 70s, which was also the last time it had been checked out. But in the mid-80s, my name was on the book’s card about seventeen times. When I was in college and they were finally purging the book from the elementary school library, the librarian saw my name plastered all over the inside of the book and decided to give it to me instead of getting rid of it.

In the public library in our hometown, I checked every book they had on Apple II programming out multiple times. While no one there gave me any books years later, there was one book that I really wished I had because it was such a good reference. The book was long out of print and going for $90 on Half.com, so I hunted down the author. He happened to have a few extra in his basement and was kind enough to send me a signed copy.

These days, I visit my town’s public library pretty often. They have a great selection, a solid web site, and best of all: no late fees. Sure, a Scary Robot will call you if you’re late, but there are no fines whatsoever and you can renew over the phone or online.

Paul was telling me that a public library near him has successfully duplicated the “book store” experience by installing a cafe. Jolly good, I say!

What do you love about your public library?

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Monday July 25, 2005 -- 11:47:51 am
I haven't made it to my local library because the hours are bad and it's located in parking spot challenged downtown.

My local library when i was a kid, THe Euclid Public Library, had a very decent CD collection way back in the late 1980s! I discovered Camper Van Beethoven because of it.

I also loved the public library in downtown Portland, ME on Congress St. It didn't sport a cafe, but it had up-to-date computer equipment for the catalog and also lots of computers so that library users could get on the internet, which I did frequently for quick jaunts at lunch time. You could also take out movies and CDs.



FROM: Deeporg [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 25, 2005 -- 12:03:37 pm
I've never been to my city library, however I have crazy memories of my local (district) library. weird.



FROM: heather
DATE: Monday July 25, 2005 -- 12:43:23 pm
I love our county library system because you can request books online and have them transferred to your "home" library. My kids love it because they have little animals (rat, chinchilla & hermit crabs) at the checkout counter.



FROM: Tina
DATE: Monday July 25, 2005 -- 2:18:56 pm
I chose my home on the basis of how close it was to my local library. Our library has the online selection feature as well - I often go over the 20 book limit for requests. And they have a lot of indie alt rock cd's to ...um...listen to. Yeah, that's right. I would never rip anything from the library! :)



FROM: COD [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 25, 2005 -- 2:31:38 pm
My kids get 10-20 books each a week from the library system. We too can have books from anywhere in the county delivered to our local branch.

When we lived near Ryan the local system sent out late notices via first class mail. So the govt was paying .37 plus handling to tell me I had an over due book. Your tax dollars at work...

Libraries are one of the few government systems that seem to actually work well.



FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 25, 2005 -- 4:23:05 pm
Chris -- I believe they've stopped that. I haven't gotten a mailed notice in years.

Agreed that it wasn't exactly the most financially-friendly way to handle overdue notices.



FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 25, 2005 -- 5:16:42 pm
Don't you remember the title of your favorite book? I put my name all over both copies of Harvard Lampoon's Mediagate over the course of three years at my local library when I was in middle school.



FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 26, 2005 -- 3:53:32 pm
Roberto -- I sure do. And I have the aforementioned copy at my house. I plan on revisiting it this year.



FROM: aharris
DATE: Tuesday July 26, 2005 -- 3:55:30 pm
for lazy people like me there is Booksfree. I haven't actually tried it yet but...it's crossed my mind.



FROM: Laurie
DATE: Thursday August 11, 2005 -- 9:43:13 am
My city library isn't really one that had a very good stock of books, especially when my child needed to use it for his class assignments because he failed to get the books from his school library and the paper was due, they never seemed to have what he needed, they didn't even have one of those world globes that we needed for something, I guess though it was one that we could have found a book with it, but at the time I didn't think of it, I just went to another city with a large that was equipped with more stock and just stopped going to our city's library.



FROM: Rafael
DATE: Tuesday November 8, 2005 -- 8:26:33 pm
Our brand new Central library cost a ton of money to rebuild. It’s a great big glass monstrosity that takes up a whole city block. However the great thing about it is that is only two blocks away from my workplace.

http://www.spl.org/default.asp?pageID=branch_central&branchID=1

When you sign up for a library card you automatically are able to check out a whopping 100 items, yup you read correctly, one-hundred items!!!

You can look for what ever your heart desires, they have a great selection of books, records, cassettes, CDs, DVDs…you name it. You can look in person or you can browse the library’s catalog file and you can even put on holds via their web site. Items will also be transferred from other libraries to the library of your choice. Once your holds are available they will notify you via e-mail. Once you get to the library you pick up your holds, place your items on a scanner scan your library card, the scanner will read the chip that is in each item. Once the check out process is complete, the scanner will deactivate the chip so you won’t set off the alarm on exiting the library.

You return the items at the main entrances of the library or at the check out counters. The neat thing about it is that it’s not a drop off shout, you actually put your items on a conveyer belt and at one point it must scan the chip because when I get back to the office that item has been removed from my check out list.

Get this they even have tours of the library.



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