The paradise of the library

Life Moments column
By Christine Bryant

I came across a treasure trove this past weekend.

One of my favorite stores, Half Priced Books, held its annual clearance sale at the Ohio Expo Center. Walking in, it was easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of books that lay on tables, neatly stacked with each book’s spine facing up.

Like others who were there, I slowly walked down the aisles, occasionally picking up a book to read the back of the dust jacket to see if the plot sounded intriguing.

After about two hours, I walked away with about 15 books. It was tempting to grab more, but walking to my car with those in tow seemed daunting enough. A small part of me, however, felt empty – leaving all those books behind, unsure of whether they would find a home.

I yearn for a good hunt. That’s why I love going to bookstores without a plan in mind. Though scoring a good bargain is always fun, scoring a good book – one that I can’t wait to share with others – is even better.

I began to realize I’ve been missing out on another place where I can hunt for my next read – a place my wallet will thank me for visiting.

Even with the modern invention of reading devices, there are so many people I know who enjoy the feel and smell of a book, turning each page with anticipation. Our libraries are treasure troves, rich with jewels that don’t cost a dime yet are priceless in worth.

In an effort to buck the trend of national retail bookstores closing, libraries across the country are working to reinvent themselves – embracing both technology and nostalgia. For those who prefer the e-readers, many libraries including the Columbus Metropolitan Library system offer digital downloads of e-books and audiobooks.

They also offer access to technology for those who don’t have Internet access at home, work or school. For many of us, it’s difficult to imagine not having access to a fast-evolving digital world, but some organizations estimate as much as 20 percent of the country doesn’t have easy Internet access.

There are also children’s programs, classes, job counseling, genealogy services and more offered at local libraries.

Though these community resources provide invaluable information, I can’t help but think about the refuge of books I’ve been missing.

I once saw the quote, “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.”
Maybe it’s time for a little vacation.

Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.

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