Rediscovering the Library

I was about to buy some books on Amazon — books that I would read once and never touch again — when I had a “moment of clarity”:  why not just borrow them for free from the library?

That I had so completely forgotten about the whole notion of public libraries shook me a bit.  Somehow I had gotten into the mindless habit of ordering books on Amazon.  Perhaps it was mind control by aliens: Consume. Conform. Obey. Sleep. Perhaps not.

Certainly I hadn’t been a stranger to libraries earlier in my life.  As a teenager in high school I had a part-time job working in one.  I still remember a bit of the Dewey Decimal system from that job, e.g., 770 is photography.  I remember hoping to apply my Dewey Decimal knowledge when I got to university and being disappointed to discover the university libraries used the Library of Congress system.  Speaking of which, I actually visited the Library of Congress during high school when my dad brought me along a business trip to Washington, D.C.

During graduate school I used the university library more for a quiet place to work than anything else.  Almost all the research papers I needed were available on the internet.

And then I joined the working world and slowly bookstores replaced libraries.

So it was with a sense of renewal that I dug out my old VPL (Vancouver Public Library) card and went downtown to the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library.  I found exactly what I was looking for in minutes.  Somehow I thought my library card would be expired since I hadn’t used it for something like ten years.  The card was still valid, though I did have a $0.50 fine from 2000.  I was happy to pay.