A Library Meme

Despite appearances to the contrary, I haven’t taken a vacation from blogging. At any case, not a voluntary one. Actually, my job decided this without consulting me. Today, I’m fighting to reclaim bits of free time in a light, fun way. Which makes the Library Meme perfect for today. I borrowed it from Danielle. 

How do you plan on celebrating Library Lovers month? I didn’t even know such event existed. Apparently not here anyway. So I’ll do the meme and I’ll probably just go to the library like every week… A weekly celebration, all year round. 

How often do you accidentally spell library as ‘libary’ when you’re in a hurry? Probably 50%. There’s an added twist to this question. In French “Librairie” means Bookshop, it’s very confusing. (Library is “Bibliothèque”, by the way) I mentally confuse “Librairie” and “Library” about one third of the time. Slap on my hand. Ouch. 

What is the most amount of books you’ve ever had checked out at one time? Ahem… this is strictly regulated here in France. I can take 5 books + several periodicals, comics, audio-books for 3 weeks renewable, but paper books = 5. Period. And it’s not 5 in each library, it’s 5 in total, wherever I go in the whole Paris library network! So that’s how many I take. When I read from Danielle that her library limit is 40, I am literally drooling with jealousy. 

What is the longest you’ve ever gone without visiting the library? I’ve always used the library even as a child. I had a library card when I was living in Hong Kong, even if the registration took me ages because it was in Chinese (there was an English section). In Beijing there was no library, even though I discovered a small one at the Embassy by the time I was leaving. So make it 3 years, during which I bought lots of books. Back in France I was very relieved when my old library card was re-activated. I found myself at home again. 

What is the biggest fine you’ve ever had? I don’t remember. Probably doesn’t happen to much, otherwise I would have. Anyway, Mr. Smithereens is obsessive about returning everything in time, so we probably won’t have to pay any for a while. 

When you go to the library, do you plan ahead and make a list? Or do you browse? A few days before going, I get excited about some authors or titles when reading blogs, so I plan to get them from the library. But many times when I get there I forget everything about my plans and just browse through the new books on display. Blogging has made me more reasonable. Now I visit more and more the online library catalogue to check if a book is available (we can’t put them on hold though). And I also make requests from the central library for rare books such as Berlin Alexanderplatz. I know it’s silly, but it makes me feel special when the librarian calls home to say my book has arrived. 

Have you ever been shushed by a librarian? A lot during student years, mostly because I had ear plugs and wasn’t aware of my own noise. It was also a time where I was easily blushing. I remember my red, hot shame, but it’s probably not so bad. Now, I stare at people or even shush them, which I take as a  privilege of growing up. 

What is the worst (against-the-rules) thing you’ve ever done in the library? Oh, I’ve been wicked. I’ve never stolen any book, but since my library doesn’t allow to put books on hold, it happened that I put a book I really wanted on a shelf where it didn’t belong, to make sure nobody else would find it and take it. Don’t borrow this trick, it IS wicked. Especially as I also have been victim of the same trick (seeing a book as available in the catalogue yet not finding it at its rightful place). 

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to a library book? When I make copies of pages I like, I’m afraid I put the book binding in danger. But nothing worse I swear. Especially not writing in them. 

Have you ever had a “favorite” librarian? Not really, but there is one of them I always remember because he has a kind of dry humor I find very unsettling (it takes me one hour to find it funny). See here for some weird thing he said about Kurt Vonnegut. The librarian boss, though, is very very talkative. I daren’t shush him, but I really wish I could. 

If you could change one thing about your library it would be… The most reasonable wish would be better funding, no doubt. But egoistically, I also wish the library could open on Sundays, and could lend more books per person, and would put books on hold. I know, it’s not just one thing… 

Care to join the party?


5 thoughts on “A Library Meme

  1. I have been very tempted to “misplace” books when I know I can’t get them right away. I may have even done this once but regretted it right away 🙂

  2. I have the same problem with Spanish–libreria and biblioteca–one is library and one is bookstore and I always switch them. I’m very spoiled being able to check out up to 40 books (though I never do–too many to keep track of) and being able to request new materials online. Of course maybe I would be much better about reading the books I do check out if I knew I could only have five and could only get them when they were on the shelf! Perhaps there is a better selection of new books when you go browsing? There is never anything really good, and really new (since other people have put holds on them and they never make it to the new books shelves!).

  3. Dorothy, Verbivore, LK – I knew I wasn’t alone doing this (or at least thinking of doing it!) 🙂 Isn’t there an English saying like “A fault confessed is half redressed”?

    Danielle, that’s true that I am lucky with new books at our library. The most demanded ones are on loan for one week only, so there is a quicker turnover, but most books in English don’t fall into this category and are available for 3 weeks. Besides, not many people seem to make suggestions so whenever I ask them to buy some book, they usually agree (it just takes long, that’s all)!

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