ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   Wealth at my fingertips

© Another Day in the Country

The number of books I own in my personal library is limited by two things: my budget and my shelving capability. Books are expensive to buy, always have been, especially if you enjoy the feel of a hardback.

Whenever I walk into the library, I feel wealthy, because in the library, our communal treasure house, there are so many more shelves and an almost unlimited supply of books. If they don’t have them, they’ll order them in. What more could you want? Furthermore the lady behind the desk is helpful, she smiles, she is polite and she is friendly, and even more.

Recently, I’ve been haunting the library more often than usual — to use its public computers. My poor old Apple is a decade old and despite the updates I’ve faithfully done, it’s deplorably outdated. I’m always getting messages, warning me about my memory insufficiency or my interface capabilities. Do you know the feeling? How wonderful, then, to be able to go to the library and whiz through my chores on their equipment.

Another thing I enjoy at the library is the librarian’s habit of turning books on the shelf to face out toward the viewer so that they draw one’s attention. There are many fantastic volumes I would have missed if they hadn’t been put on display.

The Abilene library has a whole table dedicated to tempting patrons to read, and I often take advantage of their suggestions. Their latest display takes the cake! “Have a Blind Date with a Book,” declared the sign. The table was covered with books wrapped in beautiful red paper. There were little “speech bubbles” attached to some of the books declaring things like, “Spend a lovely evening with me and you won’t be sorry,” or “Take me home. I’m yours.”

On each book was some hint about the content. You couldn’t see the author or the title, just the library number was exposed so the book could be checked out properly. I was intrigued.

“Can I really take one of these?” I asked. This was almost as good as a box of chocolates. The librarian assured me that this was the whole point. I chose a book and brought it home. The book looked so pretty, all wrapped up like a gift that I didn’t unwrap it for a day or two. I just sat my present on the end table to prolong the surprise.

When I finally unwrapped the book, it turned out to be a delightful volume. On the outside cover the blurb had declared this book to be a cross between Mark Twain and Garrison Keillor. “Home to Harmony,” by Philip Gulley, turned out to be the most delightful read I’ve had in a long time. Now I’m looking for more books by the author and recommending his work to friends — like you. It’s a rare day when you read a book that provokes laughter one minute and nostalgia the next.

When is National Library Week? I’m sure we must have one. Perhaps we could throw in an extra one this week and when we go in to find our favorite author to snuggle up with, we can tell the librarian thanks!

“Thanks for remembering my name. Thanks for smiling and being friendly. Thanks for temping me to read widely. Thanks for smelling so good! Thanks for being here on another day in the country.”

 

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