What Got You Hooked?

I wrote yesterday about first being drawn to books and reading in general by mysteries, and even more specifically detective stories.

Didn’t even cross my mind to ask what it was for you all. What originally got you hooked on books? Was it a certain book or genre? Or maybe a teacher or library you frequented? I’m curious.

But I remember checking books out of my middle school library every one in awhile. In high school it was largely the same because I started using the public library once I realized there were these places that kept ALL the books and all I needed was a ride to get them.

So tell me!

On the Denver Public Library

The Denver Public Library is more than just a library. It offers public restrooms and has ample space to encourage any and all to enter.

It’s essentially acting as a homeless shelter during the day. No one is allowed to sleep, but anyone can enter And walk amongst the materials. There are computers, Internet access, and just about a million other things.

The library has social workers on staff. This is the kind of institution libraries should be. Bettering the lives of those in its community. I hope other library systems take note.

Harvard Library Will Stop Charging Late Fees

Harvard library will stop charging late fees for regular loan items. Why? Because it’s stressful for students. I actually just read an article that pokes fun at this new development. Basically saying that all students at the school are rich and a genius and this new perk will do nothing for them. I disagree.

I’m not of the opinion that the most stressful topic in the minds of Harvard students is their overdue library books. I’m also not going to criticize the library for making this change. What good comes from that?

Fines Everywhere

Whenever I play around online to read book stories I always come across the same story over and over again. Fines.

People paying ridiculous fines for library books long overdue. The problem I have is that libraries need a better system to collect fines. I’d say take a page from Redbox. Swipe your card when you check out a book and once it’s overdue the library will automatically charge you until the book is paid for. Then it’s yours.

But seeing people pay $1500+ or 40 years’ worth of fines is beyond reason. There’s no point for that. Libraries have adapted their offerings, so why not adapt how they take fines?

What’s the largest fine you’ve ever paid for overdue library books? Mine is probably around $1.

Using the Dewey Decimal System

I’ve said I don’t utilize my local library system nearly as much as I should. But there once was a time in which I did. During my early teen years I constantly made my mom take me to the library to check out new books. But there was always one constant. I never browsed. I always reserved books beforehand, which leads me to the Dewey Decimal System.

I have no idea how to use it. I remember in school all library books would have a decimal on the spine for classification purposes. I never understood it then and I still don’t understand it now. Granted, I have no experience in library science.

I know some libraries have abandoned the system in recent years, but why not just organize the library in the same manner bookstores are organized? That doesn’t seem unreasonable. And I bet library patrons would better be able to navigate the library.

Am I the only one here?

DC Public Libraries to Celebrate Banned Books

I’m not sure exactly when Banned Books Week takes place, but I know it’s in September.

Bookstores, libraries, and other organizations celebrate banned books each year to highlight books that were once (or currently are) challenged. And DC public libraries are doing something fun this year. Throughout the course of the month the public library system in the capitol is hiding hundreds of copies of banned books all around the city. Clues to help find the books will be given on the system’s social media accounts and the books will feature covers describing why the book was challenged. 

Also, the books are free to keep!

I don’t know what any libraries or bookstores near me are doing, but if I lived in DC I’d definitely be trying to find me some banned books. Never mind that I likely don’t know the city well enough to find anything.

Have you heard of any unique events to celebrate Banned Books Week in your area?

Return Your Library Books or Else

Jail. That’s right. If you don’t return your library books in a timely manner then you could be looking at time in the slammer.

A library in Georgia is enforcing new rules to recover more than $200,000 in materials. I mean, I really hope this isn’t the case at most libraries around the country. That’s obviously unsustainable.

What I don’t understand is how the library says it will be enforcing new rules such as the jail time. The library can’t write laws. Unless the rules aren’t actually new and the library just hasn’t been enforcing them. If I knew someone had 20 books from the library just sitting at home and I had the legal standing to have them arrested, I think I would.

It is no different from stealing. And in the case of the library it amounts to stealing from taxpayers.

I’m hoping people just return their books and pay their fines before the question of jail time arises. Everyone knows unreturned library materials are just sitting at home anyway.

The policy sends the person a postcard about their overdue items, then a text or email, then a court summons, then jail time could be on the table if that is ignored.

Do you have any stories of overdue library books? I remember one. I think it may have been overdue by about a month or two. But I didn’t drive at the time and I usually had to force one of my parents to take me to the library. I think my fine ended up being $1 or something.

How Many is too Many?

A library in St. Louis County has launched an initiative to get parents reading to their kids before kindergarten. But I think their goal is a bit lofty. Parents are encouraged through prizes to read 1000 books to their child before they reach kindergarten.

That’s a thousand books in the first five years of their life. I know the books are short and you can read multiple books in a single day, but new parents aren’t exactly full of free time. Obviously the program is designed to create and enhance better language skills and vocabulary, but eh. I don’t know how many books were read to me before kindergarten, but I know it wasn’t close to a thousand of them. 

Do you think this library is on to something or just a little too enthusiastic with its expectations?

If you Could Build a Library

A little late today because I decided to sleep last night rather than write a post. And then this afternoon I wanted to talk to the girlfriend instead of write this. Eh.

But I was thinking about where I might build  library if I had the chance to do so. Not a Little Free Library, a free standing private library. What I’ve decided is pretty simple and straightforward. I’d look at the city of Houston and identify as many as 10 areas that lack a library altogether or have one in need of financial support. Then I’d research for a year to determine the specific location. I’d cater the events and inventory to the people in the surrounding community.

The library would have ultra high speed internet and typewriters for use. And the entire staff (as much as possible) would live within five miles of the branch. Why? Because they’d have a vested interest in helping as many people as possible. It wouldn’t just be an “easy” job for them.

Lastly, friends of the library sales wouldn’t be operated the same as other libraries. Paperbacks would be the standard $0.25 each and hardcovers would be $0.50, but only once a customer has already gotten 10 books free of charge. Because if the money is there to finance the day-to-day operations of the library, then there is no reason to charge everyone for books that have been read dozens of times.

I’d also name the library after someone who has a history of promoting literacy and reading. I wouldn’t name it after the city or after myself. The name would be one synonymous with books.

Where would you build your library if you could?

A Story I Know You’ll Love

Ron Lynch is a name likely completely unknown to you. And Matthew Flores is probably no different. But the rest of the world is becoming more and more acquainted with the two by each passing day. Let me tell you why.

Ron Lynch is a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service (USPS). For those of you located in other parts of the world, USPS is our primary snail mail service. Recently Ron Lynch discovered 12-year-old Matthew searching through junk mail for anything he could read. And Matthew even asked him if he had any extra mail that he could read because his family doesn’t have a car and can’t afford for him to take the bus to his local library. But Mr. Lynch decided to do something just a little bit better than junk mail. He put this on Facebook.

One would expect the typical person to have a few hundred friends on Facebook and to actually interact with a fraction of them, right? Wrong. This post has caught fire. People all over the world have been rushing to send young Matthew books to read. And I’m asking you to join in! I’m not asking you to send him a box of all your favorite books, but if you do have a book or two that you think this young boy would enjoy, then I say ship it to him. I’m getting on Amazon and finding something for him right now as I sit here and write this. I’m even going to include a personal message.

Matthew just wants to read as much as he possibly can, and I want to help him do that.

Let’s all give Ron Lynch a nice salute for what he did. He showed us that the world isn’t such a bad place after all. There are plenty of good people all around.

PS: The address for Matthew’s local post office is at the end of the first picture. You may have to click “see more” depending on your device.

This happened after just a few days.

I decided to send him a boxed set of the Percy Jackson series! But then I realized that he’s already gotten it. 😦 I’m going to think about this for a day or two and then decide. But you don’t need to wait for me!

It would be really nice of you to share this post with your friends, followers, or whomever. Because it’s impossible to have too many books, right? 🙂