Tuesday, July 11, 2006
The Greatest Library
“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes."
I love this quote, though it isn't quite true for me seeing as I didn't live in the 15th century as Erasmus did. Here in GR, we have such a great library system. I can search for a book or CD on their huge database on the internet and have it sent from one of the many branch libraries to our local branch. Then, I get an e-mail when it's ready so I can go pick it up.
The other day, I received notice that a book and a CD were ready to be picked up, so off I went to the library. It turned out that I had a bit of a fine to pay and 50 cents rental fee for the CD for a grand total of 95 cents, but I only had 80 cents on me, so that's what I paid. The Librarian loved me! She said we love people like you - the ones that actually pay their fines. Evidentally, they don't get serious about collecting fines until you ring up over $10 worth. I wish I had known this about 10 years ago. John referred to me back then as a Library Fugitive because I stopped going to the library when I had about $7 dollars worth of fines. He finally paid them off for me so I would start going back. I always remember what a friend of mine in an old book club used to say -"I consider library fines to be my donation to the library." I try to keep up with my donations.
Yesterday, as I was leaving the library, I noticed a sign that said "$1 for a bag of books - Stock up on your Summer Reading" This is how they get rid of old books, and I thought, quite snootily I might add, there can't be anything worth reading in those old books. The story doesn't end by me going over and finding a treasure of an old book. No, I got in to the van and just kept thinking and laughing that those old books would probably hold the same value as reading say, a cereal box or a shampoo bottle. (I often find myself amusing). But then, I thought of how each book represents somebody pouring a lot of effort in to it, and so I did get over it.
I still can never get over this feeling though - when you check out your books at the front desk , they are free (unless you have a fine). I always feel likeI should pay. What a great gift that is. I remember seeing the movie Luther, and how glad I was that the Bible is so much more available to us now than it was back in the 15th century.
I love that part in the Gospel of John, at the end, where he is talking about all many other things Jesus did, and if they were all written down, one by one, he could not imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books!