My first real introduction to the public library (something that was long past overdue) happened when I was 24.
That was the day I got my very first public library card.
For someone who likes to read, rent new movie releases for free, listen to audio books, and loves to spend $0 while leaving a place with all kinds of treasures, this was just the most wonderful thing that could have happened to my simple ‘it’s all about the little things’ self.
The public library suddenly provided a perfect education-rich, but leisurely atmosphere for a new college instructor.
I’d been far too familiar with school libraries as a kid (which included long bouts of studying), as an undergrad (which included long bouts of studying), and as a grad student (which included arriving most days while it was still dark outside and leaving most days while it was again dark outside).
The public library was different than anything I’d ever experienced.
It was a place I could browse without stress, without worrying I might spend too much money, I didn’t feel rushed, I knew nobody would bother me, and best of all, it was quiet.
It’s become a routine of mine to stop off at the library after work at least once a month and pick up whatever interests me.
I happen to be in a no-TV/movies phase currently, but I’ve been reading frantically, so lately I’ve been walking straight past the DVD rack to grab a book on tape (to entertain myself during commutes for the next month), and then I take my time in the non-fiction books section.
A few weeks ago I spent an hour sifting through books, and it was awesome.
Part of the fun for me is having some books in mind that I’d like to find, then leaving with none of the books that were actually on my list. Here are my latest finds:
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Friends had recommended this book, and I’d flipped through it plenty of times in Barnes and Noble, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I don’t know why I’m so surprised by my response to it given how many people recommended it- it was a fantastic book!
All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
I used bell hooks as a source in much of my research as a Communication major in undergrad and grad school, so seeing the author’s unique name immediately brought back memories. I thought it’d be nice to pick it up for leisure this time, and possibly as supplemental reading for my Family Communication class next term.
Ooh La La! French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day by Jamie Cat Callan
I’ll admit it. I was embarrassed to be seen leaving the library with this book, so I put it at the bottom of my stack. It’s not the type of book I typically read.
However, I originally picked it up because the cover was similar to the concept I originally had for my own book cover. I ended up leaving with it because as far as I could tell, it was about a culture I don’t know enough about, and it was essentially a non-fiction book that takes an introspective look at the inner workings of women who are happy and have high self-esteem.
Now, I’m not one to buy into why we need to invest in perfume or wear makeup a certain way. All that aside, it was everything I hoped it would be. The underlying themes of the book were the same as those of all the positive psychology books I’ve read- and I love seeing that all these ideas and studies in happiness inevitably weave together.
Each book delivered.
I realized half-way through All About Love that I could also use it in the college classroom, Drive has been a great conversation starter with friends lately, and Ooh La La! was the perfect book to recommend to a close (and very stylish) girlfriend of mine who’s enjoying a booming new business and always looking for a new book to read.
As I mentioned before, the public library is the ideal place for my simple ‘it’s all about the little things’ self. It’s not the prettiest place, and it’s not trendy, but it’s filled with books that are filled with ideas that just might make you a little bit happier.