Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Overdue Library Book

On Saturday mid-morning, I was running the typical weekend  errands (cleaners, shoe repair man, grocery store) and as I was passing the library I remembered that I had an overdue book in the back seat (don't judge me, Yes I still check out books from the library).

I made a sharp right, pulled into the parking lot and hesitantly climbed out of the car. I'd been immediately transported back to my Pomona days when an overdue book meant a fine, no more books until you paid that fine as well as a stern look from the librarian or clerk, shaming me to be more timely.

It had been years, but I didn't want that look again. I started to drop it off in the book drop box, but then I looked around at the parking lot. There were only three cars there. I first became sad, and then angry as I thought about the new generation of parents who were more than likely depriving their children of the privilege of the age old institution of the library: perusing through hundreds of bookshelves, the musty smell of a used book, the bridges to other worlds and of course the responsibility of securing a library card.

I lamented as I slowly walked up the steps. The wind was blowing my hair in my face as I became critical of the world in those short moments - digital games, book downloads, the internet and hundreds of available channels on cable TV that have stolen precious time and moments from a building that housed history, references, novels, religion and music.

I became angry and I quickened my pace, suddenly eager to share with the desk clerk my heartfelt sentiments as a fellow bibliophile. And as I reached the door I saw the sign - The library is closed on Saturdays.

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