I spent several hours in the library yesterday, avoiding human contact because I promised I would do so in order to curb any potential of my catching swine flu or some other wicked demon disease launched upon the Earth to wipe out mankind. That wasn’t the only reason I was in the library, though. I’m still working on my research project and have been digging up books I still need to read in order to get my brain in the right mindset to write the 25+ page monstrosity that will be the finished product. The reality is that I think this paper will cross the 40-page mark, since as of this moment, with only the intro and one section (of about six) completed, I have about 8 pages–and those sections will be receiving extensive edits and adjustments over the next few weeks.
But this post isn’t entirely about that. Actually, it’s about how awesome libraries can be. One thing I find incredibly useful about UC Santa Cruz’s library (and the UC library system in general) is how many books you have access to and on what subjects: pretty much all of them. Books they don’t have they can purchase, and students (and non-students too) can borrow books from any library in the system, drastically increasing the size of the UC library’s catalogue. And don’t get me started on article databases…because there are too many of them to count that I have access to as a student. Hopefully I will have the same access wherever I go next.
I’ve never been a big library guy. I support libraries and think they have a tremendous amount of value in society, particularly for kids who don’t have money to toss around on books, but since I stopped being a book person for a while in my life (and have only come back in the last seven or so years) I haven’t really made good use of libraries until now. Obviously that has changed and I suspect that I will be spending more time in UC Santa Cruz’s library over the next few weeks (my last weeks, actually).
Needless to say, I love the library. A lot of the books I’m finding I need for my research project are ones I can’t get for a reasonable price–lots of academic books that run $50 to $100 easily. Many on science fiction and subjects related to the Other, (post)colonialism, imperialism, empire, etc.
With that in mind, I thought I’d ask all of you what kind of experiences you have had with your local library? I know that not all libraries can be as well-funded as a university one, but still, they are great places to find books and information. So tell me about a recent library experience you had, or, if you don’t go, say why you’ve never been.