I know, it’s basically book-lover blasphemy, but I think it’s about time I came clean: I do not like libraries.
I’ll give you a moment to control the shock and confusion you are no doubt experiencing as you read this – a reader who ISN’T obsessed with an establishment whose sole purpose is to supply the general public with an endless supply of FREE books? What nonsense! But seriously, hear me out.
My first issue with this whole book-borrowing infrastructure is that I like to keep my books. Even the ones I don’t particularly enjoy reading. I guess I can’t call myself an actual ‘collector’ because my books are hardly in mint condition (let’s just say ‘well-worn’ would be a huge understatement…), but my bookshelf is definitely a source of pride in my life. Whenever someone enters my room they are smacked in the face with everything I have ever read, on display for all to see, appreciate, and praise me for. ‘Wow, you’ve read all of these?’ Why yes, yes I have.
How am I supposed to impress people with my literary accomplishments if each book I conquer gets returned to some public shelf in the middle of town? You might think it’s weird, but as a nerdy, athletically-challenged child growing up I didn’t earn any trophies to display on a shelf above my bed – books are my trophies, and I’m proud of myself each time I finish something new. So is it a crime to want to display my accomplishments?
Related to that is the fact that I like my books to be worn. It shows that I’ve actually read them and they aren’t just for show – the dog-eared pages, the notes in the margins – it’s how I engage with the story and really get into what I’m reading. When I encounter someone else’s dog-ears and underlines I just get pissed off. It’s like someone else is randomly poking their head into my personal reading experience. “Oh you think this part is interesting? So did I, and I already noted it. Nothing about your reading of this page is unique, you might as well just give up now” — who wants other people’s comments popping up every few pages? No thank you.
I guess some might find it interesting to compare notes with other readers in this way, but if that’s what you’re looking for find a book club or a chat room (or a blog for that matter), leave my books alone!
Call me possessive, but I guess the point of this whole little rant is the fact that I just don’t like sharing books. And on top of everything else it’s just inconvenient trying to return them in a timely fashion (I’m pretty sure I’m on a poster somewhere in my local library, WANTED for excessive late fees. another reason I have vowed never to return).
There are plenty of blogs out there with overwhelming evidence of the fact that many wonderful libraries exist in the world: shelves full of books, plenty of comfy little nooks to sit and read. But the truth is, unless we’re talking about a room of bookshelves in my own house where each book is owned by me and leant only to close friends, libraries just aren’t my scene.
I just thank god this guy never worked at my local library, otherwise I’d be in trouble…