I have to make a confession.
I’m almost 50 years old and in my lifetime I’ve barely used the library. I absolutely love the idea of the public library. It’s fundamental to democracy and literacy. I just don’t use it much. Partly because I’m lazy (ugh. Get dressed? Go somewhere?) And partly because I just read so damn slow and in the past I just never knew what I was in the mood to read. But I decided to get off my ass after I heard about The Budget Cuts. The Library needs me!!
The first step I took was to get in the habit of always checking my library catalog online before going to Amazon. For the most part this works. I’ve got a shortcut on my phone home screen and I can sign in and add a book to my library wish list wherever I am. Still it’s been a little frustrating.
Even with Hoopla and Overdrive, my library doesn’t seem to have a lot of recent bestsellers and books I like to call viral (you know what I’m talking about…the ones that are all over Goodreads and Litsy for a period of time until the next one comes along.) Worse, I would sometimes find the book, but they only had it in CD format. Maybe I’m not understanding something, but it still feels strange to me that The Mothers by Brit Bennett was only purchased on CD. Of course the Littens helped me out. Many asked if I could get in interlibrary loan.
Next confession: I had to get the school librarian to show me how to request an interlibrary loan. I decided to request You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain from a library about two hours away. (The Mothers? Oh. Um. Yeah. I had already purchased it…) We hit “request” and I didn’t get anything. No confirmation e-mail, no “success!” pop up. We both found it odd, shrugged our shoulders and moved on.
Fast forward a week or two…
I get a call. It’s not a number I recognize so hell no I’m not picking it up. They left a voicemail. It was the library. First they apologized for not getting back to me sooner. Then they explained that they had received my request, but since the book was so new they weren’t able to get it. Books less than a year old are generally not eligible for ILL. BUT they were going to order the book for our library because it was one they really should have. Since I was the one who requested it, they will contact me as soon as it comes in!
I am in awe. I am cynical by nature so when all the Littens were saying that libraries really want to help the patrons and get what they want I sort of scoffed. I have been proven gloriously wrong.