The question “What’s in your wallet?” may conjure a popular television commercial for a credit card, but for my money there’s a better answer. My library card.
It’s been in my wallet for so long, and has been used so often, it needs to be replaced. Or maybe just some duct tape therapy.
I love my local public library. It’s around the corner from where I live, and its location (location, location) is one of the reasons I bought my house.
I’m more than happy my tax dollars support it.
There’s the expected vast selection of books, DVDs and CDs, and I can search for anything online and have it sent from another library if need be.
They kindly e-mail me when my book is in, and send a reminder when it’s due. That’s a good thing, because I’m a slow reader and usually max out my renewals before finishing a book.
Other reasons I’m a card-carrying bibliophile and library patron:
* When my computer was on the fritz a few years ago, I was able to use one there.
* It has a spacious, well-lit reading room with newspapers, magazines and yes, a coffee shop.
* There’s a local history section, a job search center and a new high-tech “laboratory” with 3D printing, sewing machines, craft tools, etc.
* It offers numerous programs for all ages — preschool stuff on weekdays, adult ed programs in the evenings and community service projects on the weekends. (It also knows how to have fun, judging from an upcoming ‘Downton Abbey’ party).
This afternoon, a cold and snowy Sunday, I went over to pick up a book — I have two out at the same time, a serious bad habit for a slow reader — and I could hear a live musical performance going on in the community room.
Bookstores need not worry. I still patronize them semi-regularly, and often donate my “used” ones to the library for its annual book sale in June. Of course, I usually attend so I can . . . buy more books.
I realize that my library, compared to many others, has more resources and a stronger tax base to support it than many others.
I don’t always feel right about that inequity, and how I benefit from it when someone of similar interests and passions can’t — simply because they live several miles away in another tax district.
If that’s ever to change, it likely will take a political push by an elected representative who loved books as a kid and didn’t have access to a well-funded library.