Libraries and black holes and books, oh my


June 25, 2008 by Tracey S. Rosenberg

The Chicago Sun-Times says ‘squee!’ about the Chicago Public Library’s new online thingie. One of the advantages to this, according to the CST?: no more ‘hefty fines’!

Hefty? Dudes, please. CPL library fines for anything other than DVDs and museum passports are – hang on, this is going to shock you – ten cents a day. Yep, one measly dime. Even if you forget to renew for an entire week, that’s still barely the price of a Hershey bar. Me, I consider library fines a donation to the library (and a wake-up call to start marking my day planner with the next batch’s due dates). They let me take books home and don’t charge me for them! I think I can give them a few dimes.

Meanwhile, Alison Bechdel’s lament for the lack of time in which to perform fun reading really spoke to me. Yes, I was the geeky kid reading at a fifth-grade level in kindergarten; yes, my dad had to persuade me to stop rereading old favorites. (One of the ways he did this was to hand me a copy of the Complete Sherlock Holmes and say, ‘read this.’ Which I did – all 4 novels and 56 stories. Good thing Dad liked Conan Doyle himself, because I spent the next five years dragging him to local Sherlockian meetings.)

I do still read for fun – but I personally find a book list helpful. It keeps me from forgetting books I want to read but can’t because a) I am overloaded with reading material at the moment or b) the library doesn’t have them yet (see ‘books for free’ supra) or c) it only exists in the Library of Congress so I have to wait until my next trip to Washington DC. (Which is next month. Yes, I will be spending plenty of time in the Thomas Jefferson Building.)

And, finally, your lost e-mails go into black holes. Now you know.


3 thoughts on “Libraries and black holes and books, oh my

  1. Carleton Place Public Library says:

    We put our own library catalog online last year and thought we’d see a drop in fines also. But, no, not at all. Yes, people know they can renew books from home and many do, but many just tell us that they keep forgetting they can do that now. Its been almost a year, and our fines have pretty much stayed the same. I guess people don’t mind “donating” to the library.

  2. Radegund says:

    yes, my dad had to persuade me to stop rereading old favorites

    Interesting that you say he “had to”. Had your rereading reached unhealthy levels, or was it just not what he thought you should be doing?

    (Mine PAID ME to read Homer and Ovid, so that I wouldn’t “waste” the summer I was twelve, for which I don’t thank him at all…)

  3. tsrosenberg says:

    CPPL: interesting! Certainly the online function of my public library makes it much easier for me to renew, but I guess it has to be a habit to check your account. (Speaking of which….)

    Radegund: I don’t think my rereading was THAT bad, but he definitely wanted me to try new books – in some grade we had to write book reports throughout the year and I remember he thought I should make sure to read plenty of new books for those. Homer and Ovid, huh? – I read the Odyssey in high school, so you’re ahead of me. 🙂

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Tiny bio

I live, work, and write in Edinburgh. I travel to other places as much as I can. To contact me, email writingmostly at gmail dot com.


CURRENTLY READING: The Ginseng Hunter by Jeff Talarigo.

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