Monday, November 16, 2009

Tax Dollars at Work

I discovered the most magical place several months ago. It's a large building filled with books. Once you find the book you want to read you can borrow it for free, and when you're done you return it so that the next person can read it. You can also borrow DVDs, audio books, music CDs. It's so sustainable it's almost a collective, more socialistic than health care reform. It's the public library.

Back in college and grad school I went to various libraries all the time, but I'd somehow forgotten that they existed. I got into the habit of buying the books I wanted to read and then giving them away, because my house is full of books and I just don't have room to keep too many more of them. For some reason I just assumed that I'd have a long wait for any newly-published book, and that it wasn't worth it. The new penuriousness led me to the library last month, and I have to say that I've been pretty stupid all these years.

My taste in literature is clearly not shared by the other residents of my small city, because I've never yet had to reserve a new book and wait for it. And I'd completely forgotten how libraries subscribe to each and every periodical, and how they provide comfortable chairs for you to slouch into while reading all the magazines and newspapers you can handle in one sitting. There's even pencils and paper lying around in case you want to write something down. There's free WiFi, but there's also every reference book imaginable, so you don't need to rely on the vagaries of Wikipedia for information.

The bast thing about the library, though, is that it's free because my school taxes pay for it. I don't have children and have previously gotten incredibly annoyed each fall when my ridiculously high school tax bill arrived. At least now I can feel as if I'm getting a benefit for all that money. In fact, this is perhaps the only instance where I can hold in my hands a physical manifestation of my tax dollars at work.

Also, don't buy into the myths. If you see someone you know at the library and want to have a short conversation, go for it. I've never once been shushed.


tunsie said...

i refuse 2 comment.I know a trap when i see one...tunsie

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