Oldest daughter is home sick. Yeah, whatever-- she's more lively than I've been in the last 5 years at any given time.
So we made a library run. She picked out some of the silly kiddie dreck that fills most of the shelves, but was happy enough when I directed her to the Newberry section. My daughter's a pretty voracious reader (genes will tell, but I think she's on the whole better balanced than I was.), but she'll be lazy, as any kid will, if left undirected. She'll pick up that Junie B. Jones book that frankly is about about 3 years below her level, and which she's read already, if you don't watch it. But give her a choice from the Good Stuff, and she's plenty happy, too.
I like visiting the library. On the whole, a local library is a good place. If you find yourself looking at a bond election where the issue is whether to put a little more money into the library budget, please consider that a library is more than just a place where one gets books. It's one of Ray Oldenberg's fabled "third places." Yes, many things you can get from the Internet. But not that space. Keep your librarys vibrant.
We went to the checkout desk. I forgot to have my daughter bring her card, so we put it all, hers and mine, on my card. The fellow of ambiguous sexuality behind the desk scanned my card's barcode with an optical reader, and an annoying buzzing sound made him take in his breath and say "oh!" It's never good when a scan of your card creates such a reaction, but I was ready for him; I had a few single bills on the counter, and just slid them across to him. "This won't quite clear..." he began apologetically.
"Well, it's going to have to push 'til next time; I'm tapped out," I said ruefully.
"Okay. We can let you check out this time, since the remainder is below $5.00," he acquiesced. I nodded. Hell, this ain't my first rodeo; I knew how it would play out before we walked in.
Yes, I tend to go over a tad. Pretty dumb, when I can nowadays recheck my books online, too. But it's still cheaper than buying the dadgummed things. I'm about done keeping more than reference books around my house. Nothing like moving to make you hate all possessions.
That optical scanner thingy made me think about Tamara's plea on behalf of Pleghm Fatale, for an old credit-card-style manual roller machine used at libraries. Why does she want one? Damfino. Maybe it's her initial thin scrape into the crust of the new world of nostalgia that's given birth to this new Steampunk genre of collecting. Frankly, some of the stuff is pretty swell. (I think I may buy my first cell phone, for the car.)
Last year I checked out a book at the University of North Texas Information Science Library (it was some high-falutin' mathematical theory book that I had no business trying to read, let alone check out), and the flyleaf had the glued-in label with a grid for the library folk to stamp your due-date in. They still do that at the ISL at UNT. The card proclaimed that the book belonged to North Texas State University, had been checked out four times, and was last checked out in 1978.