Book Nerd Problems #3- The love/hate relationship with the library

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I love the library more than I hate it, of course. I’m even strongly considering a master’s degree in library science so I can make “the library” my life’s work. I love being surrounded by so many books, genres, and possibilities. I love the sense of community a library brings and all of the book clubs and writing clubs and Excel workshops the library provides. I take my son to the library to complete his homework, and then he and I partake in a little reading or coloring in a couple of cushy chairs that overlook the lake.

The problem is that I’m what’s referred to—at least in the collegiate world—as an “active reader“. Active reading is now my default post-college-setting regardless of the genre. I highlight sentences and write notes in the margins and underline the heck out of my books. All of them. (Unless it’s a copy that’s been signed by the author. I try to keep those as pristine as possible). This is where my relationship with library falters. Though I love the atmosphere and the selection and the ability to keep a book for free for 3 whole weeks, I find that sometimes I just have to buy the book so I can impulsively scribble in the margins when an idea hits me. When the light bulb goes off and the theme starts to make sense and the symbols and illusions are clear, I need to be able to highlight away until my heart is content.

But just about the time I contemplate quitting the library (ha), I begin to think about alllllllllll of the books I have simultaneous access to, and I re-fall in love. My mind enters through the automatic doors and breathes in the distinctive library air and piles one book on top of the next in my arms and happily checks out with my stash. And then I come home and start to read a book and get all kinds of excited and grab my pen ready to scribble notes….

And then I stop. Oops. Library book. Can’t write in this one (sad face).

What I end up with is this perpetually problematic state that I love/hate to get involved in. I will forever buy books and taint their pages with yellow highlights and chicken scratch, and I will forever check out piles of books at the library and painfully restrain myself from writing in them. The library gives me solace though. It provides me a place to go when I feel like my book-nerdiness is just a notch too high. For people like me, the library is a symbol of hope and contentment.

What about you? Do you suffer from this ailment? Do you buy more books than you borrow?


Photo credit: flickr user Loughborough University Library

8 thoughts on “Book Nerd Problems #3- The love/hate relationship with the library”

  1. I always want to buy books so that I can either write in them, or put them in my bookcase so that they look nice and impressive (or so that I look really smart). I love the library though. Especially if it has books I want to read, but don’t think ‘worth’ purchasing (that sounds rather mean haha). Your post is very recognizeable!

      1. Glad you feel that way too! I was kind of hesitant to write that down since it sounds so harsh and mean towards the author. But I guess we’re all entitled to have an opinion on what we like and what we don’t right?

        1. I can relate. I don’t think you are putting down any one author though. We all gravitate toward particular genres and authors, therefore, what’s “worth buying” is quite subjective. It’s what makes us all unique as readers and what makes the library an invaluable resource.

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