Long live the public library!
“Who goes to libraries anymore?”
That question was posted on a Wasaga Beach news and commentary Facebook page, adding to a long thread about the downtown plan and a proposed new location for our library.
The current one (pictured above) is tiny. Not “so small you have to go outside to change your mind” but cramped. The aisles are narrow and you’re constantly having to say “excuse me” or turning sideways to let a fellow reader pass.
The biography section is uncomfortably close to the computer station. I’m always back to back with a seated patron who’s taking advantage of free Internet. There are times when l feel like the manager of a call centre.
I’m not checking out whatever you’re checking out, honest!
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’LL FIND
Despite all that, our library has a surprisingly good collection.
Since transitioning from radio employee to freelance writer, my morning routine has included a lot more reading time, from bios and self help books (like how to be a successful freelance writer) to popular fiction.
I always have a novel on the go.
Wasaga Beach lacks anything resembling a bookstore. Chapters is 45 minus away, in Barrie. You can only purchase books at Walmart, groceries and drug stores. Their selection is severely limited. Best sellers from the same 10 authors, or so it seems.
Then again, I’ve read almost every Stephen King story and few authors have been more popular than the man who gave us The Shining, It, Carrie and dozens more.
WHY THEY SELL TONS OF BOOKS
I’m not knocking Dan Brown, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, David Baldacci and others who top the best seller list year after year. They’re all masterful storytellers who keep us turning the page to find out what happens next.
Walmart can’t devote much space to books, and these days even flea markets have fewer vendors offering paperbacks. Over the years I’ve found many books at the Elmvale Flea Market. The pickings there were pretty slim during the summer of 2018.
Danielle Steel? Of course. She’s as perennial as bargain bed sheets, Harley Davidson t-shirts and cheap sunglasses, oh yeah!
David Mitchell? Not likely, even though Stephen King recommended “Slade House.”
So, guess where I found this one?
My local library.
Okay, you are required to take them back after 3 weeks (with the option to renew online), but we are so fortunate local libraries still exist.
And just a few blocks away!
Sure, I’ve ordered dozens of titles from Amazon but, even with the discounts that come with an annual subscription, that’s at least $10 spent on a book that will eventually collect dust.
My current, totally free checkouts are “Slade House” (I’m a third of the way through it…highly recommended), Rachel Kushner’s “The Mars Room” and this one by Naomi Klein.
It’s not fiction but a guide for surviving Trump, which makes it as scary as anything Mr. King could imagine.
Three great reads, for free.
The construction of our new, bigger and better library could be a few years away so that will mean many more hours of squeezing past my fellow story-loving residents, and trying not to appear like I’m hovering over those internet users, but so what?
Long live the local library!