I was at the Seaside Library last week when it dawned on me that before moving to Seaside, Oregon I have no recollection of having a card for a public library since I was 13 and living in Portland. Back then my mother would go to the local library at least every other week and check out 4 or 5 books each time. When she went, we all went. I loved to read but I only checked out books with shiny plastic covers. I really judged a book by its cover! Prior to that library being built, we would visit the bookmobile that parked at Lynch’s Grocery Store every Saturday. My father would always drive us over and patiently wait while everyone in my family checked out books.
When I moved to Seaside 5 years ago, I got a library card. I even got one for my husband. I used my card once in the first 3 years. The old library was dark, smelled funny, and the book I checked out was boring. What I didn’t know at that time was that Seaside was planning to build a new library. In a time when communities, particularly small ones, are shuttering their libraries, Seaside was ready to build a new one that would greatly increase its size, have wonderful lighting, wouldn’t smell funny, and have much better books.
I now stop by the library once or twice a week. I don’t use all the library’s amenities such as the free computers and wifi access, the magazine racks, the children’s library, the used book resale store, or the free visitor’s paperback book exchange. I just check out books. Sometimes I see a friend and we visit for a short while. Sometimes I ask the library staff for assistance in finding a book or get a recommendation about an author or book I haven’t read. But mostly I just return and check out books, continually crossing off titles on my ever-present list of books to read.
Even though the new library is wonderful, there are two things I would change about it. I would put in more parking places. The large library lot is frequently full and I have to park on the street. And, I would like our library to be open on Mondays even though most libraries are closed one day a week, usually Sunday or Monday. I often finish my book on the weekend and have to wait until Tuesday for a new one. Or, I could start checking out 4 or 5 books at time just like my mother did (and still does).