Library Book Haul

It was much cooler today on the east coast of Scotland than it has been for the past week or so, but still bright and sunny. We decided just to take a walk to the newly reopened library, it had been closed for 18 months or so for refurbishment.

I don’t really like anything about the new library set up. The lovely old built in bookcases have disappeared, replaced by low free-standing bookcases, and there are too many different sections which you have to check for authors. I prefer books just to be alphabetical, then you can see straight away if the author or particular book you are looking for is there. There’s just too much scope for books to be misplaced, so you have to look all over the place. Why on earth do they have a section for ‘family’ books? I’m sure there are far fewer books in the library than there used to be, due to the low shelving which is no doubt there for easy access to everyone. The library is now self-service, although I suppose you can wait to be served by a member of staff if you so wish. I suspect they want to cut back on employees eventually.

Anyway, I did take a few books out. I’m trying to work my way through the Agatha Raisin series, so I grabbed:

Agatha Raisin Hiss and Hers by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M.C. Beaton
Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas – who I hadn’t even heard of until my friend Joan Kyler mentioned her. It’ll be interesting to try out this new to me author.

As you can see, I’m still in an easy/light reading phase and I’m a third of the way through Sunshine on Scotland Street already.

11 thoughts on “Library Book Haul

  1. Library renovations are difficult for all of us that don’t want too much change in our favorite arrangements. I’ve faced this plenty of times and know exactly the disappointment you’re talking about.

    Occasionally, though, there have been changes in some of my favorite libraries that have compensated for those I haven’t liked. A fireplace room, for example. More room for browsing new books is another. Still, I love it when renovations leave certain well-beloved areas of the old library intact. I have found this to be a theme in many refurbishments that I’ve been witness to here, both in the Boston area and “way up here” in the Adirondacks.

    Our weather is finally cooling down and drying out a bit. What a heavenly change! Is there life after life? We’ve had a completely unprecedented, extremely long spell of heat and extremely high humidity. I moved here to get away from all that, but guess what–that Climate Change thing is really kicking.

    Keep cool and enjoy your books!

    • Judith,
      A fireplace room in a library sounds wonderful. Of course I am hoping that we will be using a completely different library in the nearish future anyway.
      We’ve had almost three weeks without rain and it has been really quite hot, even on this east coast. I’m hoping it stays good for a wee while yet. Climate change for us seemed to mean very wet summers and no heat – until this year!

  2. My library seems to have been taken over by X-boxes, game boys, whatever else electronic. Also hundreds of DVDs and blue rays. I wonder how much of the budget is used for BOOKS?

    • Lorraine,
      I don’t think ours has computer games yet, no doubt that will come in the future. We don’t seem to have that many books though, due to the lack of height of the bookcases!

  3. Yep my library is self service. All very clever but then you remember that actual people are no longer needed. They go then the knowledge and recommendations goes too. Computers aren’t great at answering you know that book it has a blue cover and something about chickens on it!

    Hope you are keeping a record of the Agatha Raisin books you are reading.

    • Jo,
      I know when I worked in libraries in the west of Scotland a lot of readers came in for some company as well as book borrowing. It was all very friendly and a wee bit gossipy, the hub of the town. That sort of thing just isn’t going to happen now, mind you the atmosphere in Fife libraries never was like that!

      I’m ticking the Agatha Raisin books off as I go!

  4. Our libraries have always been self serving . There is a librarian or two at the desk that can help if we get stuck. What I miss is the old card catalogs where you thumb thru the little cards now you look it up on the computer. I’m not sure how many categories books are shelved in @ my library I always go straight to fiction and it it alphabetical by author. Our branch is small and I think it just has fiction, non fiction and juvenile but the larger branch might have more. I’ll have to stop in it and see! The building is over a hundred years old too will take pics for you.

    • Peggy Ann,
      I miss everything about old libraries, of course when I started work we still had the old index card system and it was all cardboard cards for borrowers, it was fast and efficient and didn’t rely on electricity, so power cuts weren’t a problem. My library has separate sections for S.F. crime. romance, family, westerns, normal fiction?!, I’m sure there’s more but I can’t think what.

  5. I’m with you, Katrina. I love the old libraries with lots of shelves and old books that haven’t been ‘culled’ because no one had checked them out for six months. Like Peggy, I love the old, often handwritten catalog cards. I love the smell of old libraries. A neighbor who volunteered at our local library got me to volunteer when I was a young teen. I loved shelving the books, finding all sorts of fascinating things to read. I was eventually allowed to check out books at the desk and loved talking to people about what books they were reading. Things are too sterile these days and there’s no discussion at the checkout desk. I’m not even sure some of those people read!

    • Joan,
      It is sad that a lot of libraries seem to have changed completely from how we remember them, but I suppose for people who didn’t experience those days it seems normal to have so little in the way of communication going on. I love the smell of books, not just libraries and bookshops, but I’ve noticed people giving me weird looks when I can’t stop myself from sniffing a book in public. Well, there are worse things I could be doing I’m sure!

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