Thursday, March 03, 2005

A fantasy fulfilled

When I first used a library, I wondered what it would be like if all the books owned by the library were returned. What perennially unavailable book would suddenly appear?

It was mere fantasy until today. In an exceptional snow shower, I visited Brighton's new Jubilee Library. I elbowed the hoi polloi out of the way and began trawling the fiction shelves. So many new books! But not one I wanted, of course. Copies by the dozen of The Alchemist, Vernon God Little and sundry Dan Brown-type trash. In the end I took Oracle Night by Auster. Last time I read him was around the time of Leviathan and I want to see what the new stuff is like.

Upstairs in the non-fiction section, I picked out books on Borges, Kierkegaard and the history of photography.

Like most library users, I really can't be bothered with all the non-book related stuff, but the self-service withdrawal is fantastic. You place the books on a wooden stall, swipe your membership card, press the relevant button and it prints out a little slip telling you when the books are due back.

Reluctantly, after an hour on a binge-high, I re-entered the blizzard and returned to the place where the books are to be read. Or at least stored before they're returned and replaced by newer books.


  1. Anonymous11:19 pm

    Libraries are to me the epitome of civilisation. Any book you want - for free or the 55p reservation charge. Astonishing riches.

    And there are no hard looks when I, middle aged suburban housewife, on a whim this morning, having read a glowing review, decide to check out a comic book (is that politically incorrect nomenclature for graphic novel? The Watchmen) along with my Sebald and Henry James.

    Happy borrowing.

  2. I saw somebody there reading a comic book. Myself, I didn't make it as far as the Children's Library.



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