Reader's Exchange

Love that book? Keep it to yourself!

I volunteered to be "nominator" for the Barnes & Noble (RRNN) book group next week.  The job description:  bring in three promising books for consideration, after which one is voted in as the October selection.  No pressure, right?  Well, advising this gang on reading is rather like offering the Car Talk guys tips on tire rotation--they already know so much more.

And I can't depend on my favorite go-to resource to rescue me this time. 

On so many occasions, the library has saved me money and equipped me to decide wisely.  Before we remodeled our kitchen and bath a couple of years back, I lugged home armloads of books on tile, color, and cabinetry.  From all those ideas I compiled a scrapbook to show our contractor what we wanted, hoping he wouldn't find the notebook silly or intrusive.  His reaction?  "I wish everybody would do that."  All that decorating advice inspired me to put together an artsy granite and tile combination that I love but have secretly felt might be a little "out there"--until one of HGTV's Design Star teams came up with that exact look last week.  

Those of us who work at the library and benefit daily from its print and digital wisdom find it particularly gratifying to observe (and assist) others doing likewise:  

  • Is that snake you found in the yard one of the worrisome kind?  We don't just have snake identification guides--we have Texas snake identification guides. 
  • What exactly is that strange yet charming antique you just inherited?  Secretary, étagère, or something else entirely?  Miller's International Antiques Price Guide probably has a photo of something similar.
  • Have technical service bulletins or recalls been issued for your car?  You can access the library's subscription to Ebsco's Auto Repair Reference Center from home with your library card.Coral snake

You can also finally figure out what a "third cousin once removed" is.  (Sounds bad, doesn't it?)  Our resources can explain why the Mediterranean diet might be likely to work for you, what yarn you should try for your first knitting project, and how to avoid purchasing an unreliable refrigerator or SUV.

But I digress.  My point was that the library has proven, in this instance, not at all helpful.  I'm obliged to shorten my list to only three books, and everywhere I look, more possibilities suggest themselves.  I've finally had to avert my eyes from the shelves, carts, and book bags of our patrons, resolving to stick with my current three titles no matter what.  If you must tell me about something you've read before next Monday, please do me a favor and say you hated it!

Comments

Bill said:

It sounds like the library is a building-size version of the "dictionary syndrome".  The "dictionary syndrome" is a malady that prevents would-be literate people from looking up words because when they try they are distracted by other words in the dictionary that they wonder about and then cause them to look up other words that they find in definitions of words that they weren't looking for in the first place.  (It's very common; you could look it up.)  You describe the library as a place of more information than we know we need.

# August 12, 2010 1:27 PM
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