Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Library Lottery

Lost Boy and I went on a date to the library today ♥. I was hoping to find Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones because we just watched the movie and I want to know all the details that get left out of movies. But our local library is very small and has a limited selection. I'm going to have to request it.

Despite the unlikelihood of our library branch having what I want (I rarely find what I'm looking for at this particular branch), I won the lottery with The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Book One in Percy Jackson & The Olympians... yes, the one that is in the movie theaters right now.) When I checked the catalog there were up to 44 holds on some of the copies.

Now, to give you some perspective, there were upwards of 150-200 holds on all the copies of Twilight in the regional public library system in 2007 and today's visit to the library was the first time I'd ever seen Twilight on any library bookshelves (but none of Meyer's other books). Admittedly, Percy Jackson appeals to a younger audience with less spending power and ability to get access to the latest books (though I suspect the movie producers aged him a little to make him more attractive to the mid-teen audience), so I probably wouldn't have had to wait two years or more to get a hold of a library copy, but the book was on my reading list before the movie previews came out and I didn't want to wait for the fad to pass, or to buy it myself, before I got to read it.

Apparently there weren't any holds on this particular copy, which happened to be at my not-so-well-stocked library, because the librarian checked it out to me without any problems (I expected something like: "Um, there is a line of people waiting to read this book, we need to put it on hold for the person at the top of the line."). Miraculous.

Just so you know, I really am grateful for this little library branch. It is close enough for Lost Boy and I to walk to so we can have nice walk/library dates. The library system is very good about filling requests, so I can have books I want to read sent to this branch and I can pick them up at my convenience. This branch is two or three times as big as it was fifteen years ago and has at least twenty times the selection it did when I was in junior high. And this branch has a piece of property where it will someday have it's own facility (it has been in a strip mall for over decade).

So even though I seem frustrated by the lack of selection at this branch, my life really is enriched by it. I just particularly like the feeling of being lost in the stacks; completely alone in a world of books and shelves where very few other humans venture. You can't get that feeling in small libraries. Even medium sized libraries have a hard time perpetuating that feeling. And it is always a bummer to find only one book in a series you want to read and it isn't the first one (or the one you are ready to read next), which is what has been happening to me at this branch consistently since I was twelve. It is good that this branch is growing. And it is very cool that I actually found the first book in a series that I wanted to read, especially when that series is a hot library-request/hold item.


  1. I'm with you. Doug and I are reading the Lightening Thief right now and I peekedPercy books--no dice. Thank goodness my friend owns the other ones. But I can't find a copy of Pride and Prejudice, and that is really a crime. Actually, it's a crime that I don't own P&P. I'm just being punished for it with my tiny-tiny library.

  2. I'm surprised you can't find P&P at the library! Is yours smaller than mine? Maybe you can find a cheap copy at a used book store? I wish I could share a copy, but I don't know if I own it either...

  3. I read Howl's Moving Castle and it is WAY different then the movie. I personally liked the movie better but it might be the visuals and that I saw it first.
    Does your library offer online books? There might be a larger selection that way.

    1. Our library does offer online books, but the selection isn't very good. We actually use our library system's request/hold service A LOT so that we can pick up the books we want at whatever branch we live closest to.

      We've moved since I wrote this post and our nearest branch is much bigger than the one in this post. But all the branches in the county are in the same system, so we have access to all of the books in the county (as well as the books in a few city libraries that partner with, but are separate from the county system). The only thing about requesting books is that we have to wait for them to be transferred to our home branch before we can hold them in our hands and read them.

    2. P.S. There are two books after Howl's Moving Castle! They don't have as much of Howl and Sophie in them as the first book, but they are lots of fun, too. :)

      #2 Castle in the Air
      #3 House of Many Ways