Somehow, I ended up with a very loud family. (I completely blame my husband for this!) Whenever my growing kids got a little too loud, I may have threatened to run away to the library. To my introverted, quiet-seeking way of thinking, it has always been the perfect place. No loud noises allowed, lots and lots of reading material, comfy chairs, free internet and plenty of time to enjoy it all. Then, about this time last year, the library closed abruptly. Of course, nearly everything else closed as well, but it was the library that I missed the most. Fortunately for me, I had just checked out an enormous stack of books and had no way to return them. I was set for a while.
When things started opening up again, the library did so in a very modified way. You could finally return your books by dropping them in a bin via a slot in the wall. They would sit there for three days…apparently long enough for any virus to die. Then you could order books online through the huge library catalog, when they were ready and delivered to your local branch, you had a week to make an appointment to come pick them up. At your scheduled time and date, the library items you had requested were waiting for you in a brown paper gift bag. You just had to tell the librarian that was standing on the other side of a very wide table who you were and they would slide them over for you.
For the last few days I had been trying to schedule a time to pick up my latest batch of books. The app that we had to use seemed to be having a few glitches. At first it simply said that none of the times I was trying to schedule were available. This was incredibly frustrating because I tried every single time slot there was! When I tried to schedule a time this morning, it said that my library was no longer scheduling appointments. I may have directed a few choice words towards the buggy software.
On my way home from a running a few errands, I decided to stop in, apologize for not having an appointment and ask for my holds. As I walked up towards the door I was a bit baffled. The usual barricade of carefully placed tables wasn’t there. Instead there were two staff members armed with a thermometer and a box of masks. They invited me inside the library and told me I could now pick up my own books!
I strolled inside gazing all around at the freshly scrubbed and rearranged library. I was almost to the hold area when I stopped to chat with one of my favorite librarians. I told them how happy I was to be inside again and how adorable her new hair-do looked. It all seemed so very normal.
As excited as I am about each little step back towards “normal,” I’m mostly excited about being able to go through as many books as I want before checking them out. Oh, and it’s quite wonderful to know there is now a place to run away to when I need a few moments of peace and quiet…