Have You Heard Of This Thing Called a Library?

I’ve written before about how much I hate the library. Maybe it’s just our branch, but the library is seriously the most unwelcoming, unfriendly place for children I’ve ever been. I can’t stand to take the kids there. You know what our library needs? A children’s section that looks exactly like the kids’ section at the Indigo in Barrhaven. That is to say, a separate room so that noise is contained; toys, puppets, and costumes to occupy the kids while the parents are browsing for books; and better display-type shelves, so kids can pick out a book of interest and put it back themselves, without dumping entire shelves of books on the floor in the process.

Man, if only I ran the library. And had an unlimited budget. Remember these words if I ever run for public office!

Anyway, a few months ago Sir Monkeypants’ job came into jeopardy, because he works for a Large Canadian Telecom Maker who has recently filed for bankruptcy protection (you know who you are, ORTEL-NAY). We needed to make some cutbacks around here and Sir Monkeypants decided to make it his own personal mission to make me love the library. I hate shopping in general but I LOOOOOVE to buy books. I don’t get nearly enough time to read these days, but I still buy a few books a year. I like to have my own personal library, and I love to lend out books that I also have loved, so it’s nice to own.

But now, it’s time to rent.

So I dusted off my (hardly used) library card and bravely ventured into their online system. And you know what? It was super easy!

I logged in, and in another browser window, I pulled up my Amazon wish list (now at over 200 novels…yipes, at the rate I’m reading these days it’ll take me 50 years to get through them all). I picked out a few titles that looked interesting on my wish list, searched for them on the library site, indicated I’d like to read them, and done! Either I was waitlisted for the book, or it was immediately set aside to be sent to my home branch.

AMAZING. Why didn’t anyone tell me the library contains BOOKS? Books for READING? Books that are accessible to ANYONE? It’s SO EXCITING.

I thought I played it smart, too, by requesting four books — one that was new, so I’m like 86 on the waiting list, one that is about six months old, so I’m 25 on the list, and two that were older, having waiting lists of 1 and 5. That way, I’d get a nice trickle of novels. However, the older two are now both in and waiting for me, and I know there’s no way I can read two novels in three weeks. Time to get familiar with their renewal policy!

12 thoughts on “Have You Heard Of This Thing Called a Library?

  1. I am always on the library’s web site. I also hate our branch, so I like ordering online and just quickly going in and picking up my book off the hold shelf. Long, long ago I used to live near the Carlingwood mall, their branch is much nicer, with a great children’s section (now if only the librarians would have been nicer then it would have been perfect).

    It always happens to me that I get two or more books that seem like they will take forever to get to me and all of a sudden they are in. So I have started taking advantage of the “Deactivate till” feature. When I get a book, I look at my request list and any books that look like they may come in while I am still reading the current one, I deactivate for a week or two. It is a great feature for when you go on holiday too. No need to miss out on a book you have been waiting for for months (I requested “The Story of Edgar Sawtell” in November and I am still only 147 on the wait list…

  2. Our family lives in a small community and needless to say we have a very small library, but we love it. They have great children’s programs throughout the week, which I take Hannah to when she is not in school. Unfortunately the powers that be in our small hamlet believe we need to CLOSE the library because of the lack of users. I am at a loss as to what I can do to save our library. So enjoy your library because they are great little treasures to have in our communities, especially for those who cannot afford to shop at Chapters or Amazon.

  3. I’m awful about using the library. I find I never manage to read the book in time. I get books for the kids sometimes–the Markham area libraries do see to have decent kids’ areas, but whenever I get a book for myself it doesn’t work out.

  4. CapnPlanet

    The library is at the top of my list of things that are Too Good To Be True (along with the web, and maybe Google web search).

    Our library allows two renewals (which can be done online) so if no one else is requesting a book, I can keep it up to 9 weeks (which is good because I’m a slow reader). They also send handy email reminders a few days before my books are due. I guess the only thing I could ask for is home delivery, but I’m OK without that.

    Conveniently also, there is a small branch quite close to our house. It’s only open on Wednesdays, so not so good for me to pick up books, but SmokingToaster finds it useful now that she’s at home, and if I’m returning a book early, I can drop it off there.

    The library kicks ass!

  5. MrsCarlSagan

    Strangely, for as much as I read, I haven’t checked a book out of the library for myself since I was in university. I haven’t been buying too many book though lately – I seem to get lots loaned to me. However, I resolve to visit the library when I next need something to read!

    We visit the Centennial branch library in Bells Corners – it actually has a separate childrens’ section with tiny couches and a play area with toys.

    The area libraries are always on the chopping block when the city discusses the budget. Apparently one thing they look at is actual book circulation at each branch….so another good reason to get out there more often.

  6. fame_throwa

    I believe the Ottawa library lets you renew once unless the book is on hold for someone else. So, in total, you get 6 weeks with a book.

    I’m going to have to check out that Deactivate feature Chantal mentioned!

  7. I used to work for Ortel-Nay and when I left to have J was when I fell in love with the library again. I have been renting books for six years and I love it. It took be a while to get over reading a book that five billion other people have touched, but it’s all good now.

    I know the library of which you speak, it is the same one I use. I know they just redid the kids floor to add the outside door, which I love, but they really could have made the kids section a little more kid friendly. Even J thinks its boring.

  8. I used to go the library but since my hands are full with two active kids I’ve already missed doing so. Thanks for the modern technology, internet that is, I can read anything I want to read without going to the library. This site might interest you too. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. The kids section in our library is not too bad, surprisingly. It’s got a little carpet and some little sofa chairs and the kids can randomly pull books off the shelves. I went quite a but while I was on mat leave, and now don’t go at all. Maybe it’s the 10$ fine waiting for me (Max ripped the cover of a book!). Maybe it’s time, maybe it’s because he has a lot of books and I get loaned a lot of books. I find the presure of having to read a book in 3 weeks is a little stressful. But for Max, we really should try.

    Never knew about the Deactivate option that Chantal spoke about. If I get back into “renting” I will check it out. Thanks Chantal.

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