Books! I Have Books!

So, yesterday I walked up to the Brookline branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to pick up two books that I had requested, Michael Connelly’s The Poet, which came from the Moon Township Public Library, and Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, which came from the Sewickley Public Library, which happens to be the library where my DIL works as head of the Teen Department.



The other two books are both from the Brookline branch. There are three tables and a wall of shelves as soon as you walk into the library that are filled with best sellers and new releases. It’s rare that I go into the library and don’t end up checking out at least one book from the best seller/new release tables. I just cannot resist books. 🙂

The public library system here in Pittsburgh is very strong. Not only does the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) have a large collection and many branch locations throughout the city, it is also part of the Allegheny County Library Association, which gives library patrons in Allegheny County access to every member library. I can search for books on-line, request them on-line, and have them ready for pick up at the branch of my choice in only a few days. I can also put a hold on books that are currently checked out, and I will be notified by e-mail when they are available.

Moreover, my CLP library card is valid at any CLP branch (and I have two branches nearby, one of which is within walking distance, the other just a short T-ride away). But even better, I can use my CLP library card at any of the ACLA libraries, which means that I can go to, say, the Dormont Public Library, which is within walking distance, and check out a book with my CLP card. It’s a dream come true for an avid reader like me.

If you haven’t been to your local public library lately, you should check it out. Not only do public libraries have books, magazines, and newspapers that you can read for free, they also lend audiobooks, E-books, movies on DVD, music on CDs, video games, graphic novels, and lots of other stuff. For free. And if your library doesn’t have what you are looking for, they can get it from another library, often at no charge to you, or perhaps for a small fee. Also, libraries offer a wide variety of programs. Your local public library can help you write your resume. You may be able to learn to knit or play the guitar or use your new smartphone at your public library. If you need Internet access, your public library has free WiFI for your laptop or tablet, and banks of computers you can use if you don’t have one of your own. There are after-school and summer programs for children and teens, programs to help new immigrants learn English and adapt to their new community, and meeting rooms open to community groups.

Forget the stereotype of the stern librarian constantly shushing patrons. Contemporary public libraries are a happening place, with lots of activities for people of all ages. And the librarians are often young and hip, like my DIL, and those who are neither young nor hip are still totally cool. Your public library. Be there or be square. 🙂


6 thoughts on “Books! I Have Books!

  1. I am happy to say that the public libraries in Minnesota are also popular and I love my library. I cannot resist coming home with a bag filled with books 🙂

  2. OHMYGOD BOOKS! I finally registered on goodreads a couple of months ago and spent the better part of the evening entering more books and adding more shelves and shelving all my books … I love it so much.

    I never read anything from Kathy Reichs! I am not much into thrillers, but I know that she is really, really popular. I’ve been reading a bit more young adult stuff during the last couple of days – right now I am devouring “The Night Circus”, and I love every minute of it. This is one of the most beautifully and elegantly written fantasy books I have read in a long time for sure…

    In Germany, public libraries are a bit different – they really are for reading, although there can be events happening there. In contrast to the US, however, they do not function as “community centres” – but since my mum is a book lover, my sister and me grew up in a family in which books were always present and where monthly trips to the library were set dates we were looking forward to (especially before holidays – this was always really exciting because we were not allowed to read any of the books we chose before we were in the car. The bulging bag of books was placed in the back row between us and then we were free to devour every word …. Simply great.

    I’ll be going on Tuesday! Would you be interested in what I will get out? This could become a thing and I’ve been thinking a couple of times about writing about the books I read …

    • I love Goodreads, too.

      I spent a lot of time at the public library when I was a child until I graduated from high school. I could walk or ride my bike, and I sometimes made two or three trips a week because I would read the books so fast.

      My DIL, who works as director of teen services in a public library, is very much into Young Adult fiction, and through her recommendations and some exploration on my own, I have discovered that this genre is chock full of excellent books that are entertaining, thought-provoking, and very well written.

      I think it would be wonderful if you wrote about the books you are reading. Of course, I could read books you recommend that are in English, but unfortunately I cannot read German. I’m really envious of your fluent English. I wish I had half the German that you have English.

      • Oh I would dig out the English translations for the German books I read!!! It’s only fair, I think. And I don’t have to write the review (or rather, my opinion) in German as well (maybe I could do both. It depends). Although I mostly read English books at the moment … I seem to rarely read in my mother tongue these days. But I have to admit that “Moby Dick” will probably be read in a translation, because although I really like the tone, it makes me feel incredibly sleepy … So maybe the German translation will change that.

        Thank you so much for your compliment about my English! Philipp proofreads all of my articles, because as I type, but I have loved English since I started to learn it in 5th grade (11 years old in Germany).
        When I was 12 years old, I fell in love with the Beatles, and that really helped my English pronunciation a bit (at least I knew how to write “appreciate”). My mother has lots and lots of English books (although she never studied it, she wasn’t allowed to go to university – but she loved the language and kept up her skills by reading and watching English movies) and so there were tons of books I could chose from later and I was always encouraged.

        I love learning languages. Somehow, I think that you get to know people better when you can speak their language, because it tells you so much about how life and people and everything is perceived. Sometimes I think that folks would get along a lot better if more people spoke more languages … But then that might just be the tree hugger in me. 😉

        I find it interesting that so many Americans love the European languages, by the way! Be it Italian or French – I have to say that I am always surprised when someone tells me that they really like German, especially the sound(?!?). In Germany, we grow up with the notion that we HAVE to learn English; of course, this is not the case in the U.S., where Spanish comes in handy. 😉

        I sometimes think that the reason why German isn’t much fun to learn, (because we took every single damn complicated thing about grammar and pronunciation and included that), but if you want to give it a shot, try! it’s free and fun and lots of folks are learning German that way. 🙂 I have used it when I started to learn French last year and it has helped me a lot. 🙂

      • I do okay with learning to read other languages (I majored in Latin, studied ancient Greek, and even took a German for reading knowledge class once for my job back when I worked in a library), but I do very poorly with listening and speaking. I wish I could speak all the languages. LOL

        I once had a German exchange student when I was teaching high school Latin who had done both Latin and English from 5th grade on, but he learned most of his English by watching American television shows on satellite TV. His English was fluent and his accent was faint. The biggest give-away that English wasn’t his native language was that German word order would still slip into his speech.

        I’m currently reading Moby Dick. It has taken me a while because I keep setting it aside to read other, shorter books, but I am nearly finished and enjoying it very much.

        I love hearing European languages spoken, especially Italian. German is a lovely language to my ear; the cadence sounds so much like English, but, of course, the guttural sounds (which I don’t find at all unpleasant) tell you right away that it isn’t English.

        Here in the US, many if not most people have no use for other languages; they think everyone else should know English. Far too many Americans go ballistic because telephone menus often give an option for Spanish (para Español, marque dos). “This is America; we speak English here,” is their refrain. On the other hand, I think every single German native I have ever met speaks at least some English.

        It’s a shame Esperanto never caught on. It would be wonderful if everyone in the world spoke their native tongue and Esperanto as well. But, of course, many Americans would see that as a plot for One World Government because they hate us for our freedom. For a country that is supposed to be the richest and most powerful nation in the world, we are terribly parochial. 😦

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