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The Library Still Rocks! Yes, I Like The Free Movies And More

by Debt Destroyer on August 13, 2009

I love my library! I know, I know…I already wrote this post a few months ago.  But indulge me.

Library-local-books-shelvesThe reason for my outburst is that my town is looking at replacing our library.  A few days ago they held a meeting to gather input in what we citizens would like in a new library.

Me and a bunch of old ladies showed up.

I was relieved that they all had a wonderful ideas (meaning they wanted the same things that I did).  Part of me was worried that the general public would think that the library’s time has passed.  That we no longer need an actual “library” anymore now that we’re in a digital age.

Of course informational meetings are hardly attended by the general public.  The only people who usually show up at these meetings are supporters. The critics come later.

But with that said, I was deeply impressed by how much these people cared about their library.

My own appreciation has grown since my last Library post.  Back in March when I came out of the closet as an avid library user, I mentioned how we loved all the programs they had for our children.  And we still do, but since then we have started to use it more for ourselves.

Mainly the movie section.

I wish I could say that I was checking out a bunch of intellectual books, but with me in school there’s little time for recreational reading.   I did have a summer reading list but now that I’m down to a couple of weeks before classes begin again, I’ve decided that I’ll tackle that challenge next summer.

If only I read during the time Mrs DD & I would watch movies, I’d have had made quite a dent in that reading list.  But instead we caught up on a bunch of flicks (off the top of my head):

  • Pan’s Labyrinth – Very imaginative visuals…not for kiddies.
  • Inside Man – A very cool Spike Lee joint.  I love a good heist film.
  • Munich – I missed out on this Spielberg film when it was in the theaters. Turns out I didn’t miss much.
  • The Queen – My wife really liked this one.  I thought it was OK.
  • Rachel Getting Married – This was on the depressing side of things, but we still liked it.
  • Wendy & Lucy –  As a dog lover, I could relate.
  • Australia – Another one my wife really liked.  I’m pretty sure it was because of Hugh Jackman (again I thought it was OK)
  • Happy Go Lucky – Should have been called Happy Go Boring
  • The Bucket List – Clever idea, but we thought it swung and missed (we felt the same about the current release Funny People).
  • Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid - A classic that I felt like watching again.  If you have the time, I recommend the special features.

But in addition to a pretty decent, but very picked over movie section, my local Library also has a wide variety of TV shows on DVD available for checkout.   One show in particular intrigued us because we’ve heard so much about it. But because of our limited rabbit ear reception we were never able to watch it ourselves.

Lost

We now refer back to June as “the Lost month”.  We watched season 1-4 in about 3 1/2 weeks.  Obviously we were totally hooked.  We had all the signs of addicts.

  1. Our sleeping pattern changed - Much like our Spring Break Adventure, we wouldn’t start watching them until the kids were in bed. With the sun staying out later, that meant we were hardly starting before 10PM. Next thing we knew it would be 1:00 AM, and we’d be zombies the next day…until we got our next fix.
  2. It consumed our thoughts –  Just because we’d go to bed at 1:00 doesn’t mean we’d go to sleep.  We’d have to digest and discuss what we just watched.  Looking back most of our conversations we had were about Lost. My wife even had dreams starring the Lost characters (she promises me that weren’t all about Jack).
  3. We were willing to pay! – It wasn’t until we got to Season Three that we discovered something horrible.  Other people were also checking out the DVDs.  How dare they! Thanks to this development I figured out how to put items on reserve.  But there were times that we didn’t have the patience to wait for our fellow fans to return the next disc. So we had to go elsewhere…BLOCKBUSTER. June’s expense report shows the damage, all $9.51 of it.

But we ran into a bigger problem.  Season 5 is not on video yet.  And won’t be until this December.

Nooooooo!

We were really hoping to catch up before Season 6 starts in early 2010.  They have full episodes on ABC.com, but it looks like they only have the last 6, so we’ll have to go elsewhere.  Like to my wife’s sisters house.  Her and her husband happen to have season 5 on DVR.  So a Lost Party is in our future.

I hope they are ready for a marathon!

Just today I was perusing the video section when a gentleman called his wife and asked her what show they wanted to get started watching.  He brought up a few, including Lost.  When he was off the phone I warned him that if he chose Lost, it would take over his life.

I think I creeped him out, so I grabbed a few movies( The Lucky Ones, Frost/Nixon, & Body of Lies) and got out of there before they asked me to not come back.

But that’s one of the great things about a library.  Getting to mingle with the public.

3021591726_4a3e48b058_m1Earlier this summer, Flexo @ Consumerism Commentary had a great post talking about how much money a person could save by using their library. There was even a calculator which showed how much you saved. According to it I save $186.50 a month.  I think that is a little high(the books we get are usually kid books), but I don’t question the fact that I do save a considerable amount.

As I sat there in that meeting with the old ladies, I had the thought of saving money and all the other advantages of using the library in my head.  I was ready to throw them out there if needed.  But like I mentioned earlier, everyone there loved the Library just as much, if not even more than I did.

In fact they had some unique ideas to add to the new one(if we get one).

  • Indoor playground – It gets awfully cold here in the winter, so they thought it would be nice to give the kids a place to hang out. The hope is that they’d read just as much as they play.
  • Music Practice Rooms / Private Study Rooms -  As a former band nerd (trombone) I would’ve never even thought about this as an option.  I just figured everyone tortured their family like I did when they learned an instrument.
  • Coffee Shop – They thought this would help raise money.  Currently they have a free will donation for coffee, I guess that must not be bringing in too much.

I have to admit being blown away by the blue haired crowd.  I would’ve never thought of any of that stuff.  Now I’ll also admit that the fuddy-duddy in me thinks that only the Study Rooms are a good idea.  I don’t like the idea of a playground, or a coffee shop.  As much fun as I think the library is now, I don’t want it too be too much fun.

Does that make any sense?

What I mean to say is, that I’d be tickled pink if they just kept what they have and expanded it a little. But clearly that’s not thinking outside the box. I guess I need to call up my grandma to get her opinion.

While I do that, how about I ask you,the trusty Happy Rock readers, what would be some features of the perfect library if you could design one?   Do you think that a modern library with a bunch of bells & whistles would be utilized more than a traditional one?  Do you utilize your local library? Do you even know where the nearest library is?

Until next time,

-DD

P.S.  Remember that I haven’t seen Season 5 yet, so please no spoilers in the comments!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kosmo @ The Casual Observer August 13, 2009 at 11:19 am

Although I tend to buy books (typically used), I am a huge fan of libraries, because I made heavy use of them when I was younger.

Shortly after graduating from college, I made an ad hoc donation to my hometown’s library. It was a relatively small donation ($50?) but a substantial chunk of town (small town – 900 people) knew about it fairly soon after the check arrived. Libraries apparently aren’t accustomed to get checks in the mail for no reason :)

My perfect library would have lot and lots of books :)

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ed August 13, 2009 at 11:32 am

In a new library, I’d like no late fees.

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Laura August 13, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I have two kids, and although initially the idea of an indoor play area seems fabulous – in reality, not such a great idea. Because soon people who don’t otherwise use the library will be going just for the playscape, and taking some of the fun away from the rest of us.

A coffee shop is a neat idea, although I don’t drink coffee. Maybe they could serve tea (iced and hot) as well as coffee, to make everyone happy?

Our nearest library branch recently underwent a remodel, and we love it even more now than we did before! They added a larger kids area, with lots of places to sit and read with the kids, on the floor, on bean bags, at midget sized tables… plus the kid’s area is surrounded on two sides by a wide hallway type space with tables and chairs, desks, and benches, for studying and tutoring and such (floor to ceiling windows allow lots of natural light inside, so it’s not hallway like at all). There are also three computer stations just for the under 18 crowd in the kid’s area, protected from bad stuff, so the kids can surf the net or play games while the parents browse for books.

My favorite part of the remodel was the addition of a drive-thru for reservation pick-ups and book/video returns even during library hours – which is particularly helpful when the kids are going full-throttle and a trip inside the library wouldn’t be a very nice thing. :-) Or when it is pouring rain and something has to be returned right away without being charged a late fee…

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Debt Destroyer August 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Thanks for the comments.

@ Kosmo – I got a kick our of your donation causing a ruckus.

@ ed – That makes two of us. Although I can’t complain. My library calls me up when I have something overdue, and doesn’t charge unless you are very very late.

@ Laura – I’m with you on the no playground. I think a nice courtyard and a fancy coffee vending machine would suffice.

Sounds like you have a nice library. I hope whatever we end up with is an improvement over what we got(which is already nice in my book).

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ChristianPF August 14, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I love the library too! So many people are missing out on all the wonderful FREE benefits the library has to offer! Also I second you on the coffeeshop idea, I wish ours had one, it would make it so much more of a place I would love to hang out at…

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Charlie@PayLessForFood.com August 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm

We have great suburban libraries here in Chicago.

Some of the nice features include private study rooms that allow you to tutor or work on group projects.

A large magazine section. This allows you to read all the current magazines without having to buy the actual magazine.

Study tables that feature easily accessed outlets. Its amazing that some libraries have study areas but its almost impossible to find somewhere to plug in your laptop.

But in addition to the physical amenities one often overlooked features of a great library are the programs and special lectures that many libraries feature. One of my favorite suburban libraries has a great personal fiance lecture series.

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ed August 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm

At one time my library had access to Rossetta Stone software. That software is > $300 new.

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Zengirl August 18, 2009 at 3:58 am

I always loved library going, and it is sooo good to see a post on library. I am glad you went to the meeting, lot of us do not do enough for local issues.

I likes movies, cds, music, cookbooks, how to books, classic books. Did you know, some library you can rent/borrow art pieces? Some of them display your art work too.

Zengirl

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Debt Destroyer August 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm

@ Christian PF – Actually I’m not a big fan of the coffee shop idea. Maybe in a bigger library, but I think it would totally change the atmosphere at my local one.

@ Charlie – I agree that a large magazine section would be nice. Right now I constantly find myself reading Rolling Stone at my college library.

And accessible outlets are also needed.

@ed – I never thought of computer software. I wonder if my library has that kind of stuff.

@ Zengirl – Checking out art is a WONDERFUL idea. I’m going to steal that one at the next meeting I go to. :)

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Zengirl August 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm

DD,

Sure, please use it! That is why I am glad, I mentioned it.

Zengirl

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Shawna August 20, 2009 at 11:32 am

The best library I have ever been to was in Southfield, MI. It has an entire level for kids. There was no playground area, but lots of those video game chairs to sit in, kid friendly computers, and lots and lots of books. The other two levels were for adults, and there were computers, fireplaces, sitting areas, study rooms….you name it they had it. There was also a coffee shop, but it was actually in the lobby of the library, so it was not disruptive to the library itself.

Here is a link to the virtual tour….might give you some ideas to take to the next meeting…http://www.sfldlib.org/pages/visit/vtour.asp

I seriously could live in this library. :)

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Mrs. J August 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I’m a fellow library fan, but the Lost part of this post really struck me: my husband and his mom got me hooked on the show, so I know how you feel about that zombie-like, Lost-induced trance!

We’re all caught up on Lost, but I brought home John Adams from the library yesterday…I fell asleep (though I tried so hard to stay awake for it), but my husband only has one section left to watch.

We started it at 7 or 8 last night. It’s over 8 hours of biopic! I would recommend it to you, but with a caution that you may end up “lost” again!

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Hiro @ Stock Technical Analysis August 21, 2009 at 12:27 am

It’s actually interesting I ran into this article since I just drove by my nearby Library, and they were promoting “FREE WI-FI”. I was thinking how awesome that is especially given the quiet environment it offers.

Library FTW

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Debt Destroyer August 21, 2009 at 11:12 am

Thanks for the comments!

@ Shawna – I just took the tour, and that IS SOME LIBRARY!
The talk at the meeting I attended sounded like they wanted to have a one story facility (to avoid costly elevator repairs), but one like this would be very nice.

@Mrs J. – I was surprised the Lost part of this post didn’t get more attention. I’m starting to have withdrawals.
I’ll look into John Adams, I have one week before my classes start agin, so if I’m going to be in a trance, I better do it soon :)

@ Hiro – Agreed, free Wi-Fi would be nice in the library.

I also have to mention that I had to look up the phrase “FTW”. So thanks for making me learn something new today.

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gurgle August 21, 2009 at 11:45 am

I must admit, I’ve recently rediscovered the wonders of the local library having not been for years. It was like an epiphany! Our local library is great as well, loads of cds and dvds to withdraw alongside wi-fi services and a really good database. And as it’s a council library, it’s completely free!

That is of course, only if you bring your withdrawals back on time…

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Hiro @ Stock Technical Analysis August 22, 2009 at 3:28 am

haha no problem. Sorry if I was being a bit too technical lol. It’s actually surprising to see the term “FTW” on Google at top.

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celticbuffy August 24, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Nice to see you’re now a “Lost” addict also! I’ve been since the start and no one else in the family admitted to watching it! :)

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maa August 25, 2009 at 10:30 am

One thing not to loose sight of in planning a new library is a teen section. The adult section and the children’s section are standard, but include some space for the teens to call their own. Our community built a new library about 10 years ago and we failed to put in adequate space for the teens and we can really feel it.

Good luck!

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Debt Destroyer August 25, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Alright, more Library Lovers!!!

@ gurgle – I totally understand. You just described how I felt a coupel of years ago.

@ celticbuffy – I guess “K & N” watch it. Mrs DD & I had a long Lost fireside chat with “N” over the 4th. I can’t wait to catch up on the newer episodes.

@ maa – That is a great idea. i will totally bring up a teen section at the next meeting.

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