Lynn Truong at Wise Bread very generously sent me her copy of Rich by 30, and asked that I donate it to my local library when I'd finished.
Yesterday, I rather hesitantly walked up to the counter at my branch of the public library and asked if I could donate a book. For some reason, I was a bit nervous that they would turn me down, or ask me to fill out reams of paperwork, or consider it a waste of their time.
Instead, the woman at the counter gave me a giant grin, and thanked me profusely. I felt wonderful walking out the door, and it made me think about all the reasons I love the library:
- I practically grew up in a library, first of all. I come from a family of voracious readers (with two librarians, a poet and English professor, and an English literature major, it's not suprising). My parents couldn't afford to buy so many books, so we hung out at the library on the weekends, picking out five or six books to last through the week.
- On a more practical note, the library has saved me countless hundreds of dollars over the years. Last year alone, I probably saved $200, primarily because my 2007 New Year's Resolution was to stop buying so many books and instead check them out of the library. I also borrowed several books for school, which I used throughout the term, instead of buying them at inflated prices at the university bookstore.
- The library staff is generally very helpful and friendly. They answer my questions and help me find the books I'm looking for. I've also noticed that they treat every person with the same respect, whether the person appears homeless, is a student, is elderly (or grumpy), or, like me, is simply clueless much of the time.
- I feel like I belong to a true community when I spend time at the library. I tend to see the same people over and over again at my local branch, reading the newspaper on the weekends, spending time with their kids in the children's section, checking email on the public computers.
It's a shame that so many public library systems struggle financially----but there appear to be many opportunities to volunteer (and, apparently, donate). My grandmother was involved with the 'Friends of the Library' group in my hometown, my mom volunteered (and was then hired) by the library after she retired, and I can see myself continuing this tradition when I reach retirement age (whenever that is).