This year, in particular, has been the Year of the Book for me. I'm reading more than I ever have and it's great. And, through getting into reading a lot more, I've also rediscovered one of my childhood loves: the library.
I lived in a very small town until I was ten; population around 600. When I was very small, the town didn't have its own library, there just weren't enough people in the surrounding area to support it. So instead, this fantastic RV-like vehicle would pull into town every few weeks. The bookmobile had arrived. And I would return the books I had borrowed and browse around looking for new books.
But I left the idea of book-borrowing behind as I got older. I don't really know why, but it happened. Sure, in university and graduate school I went back to the library, but never for pleasure reading, always for research purposes.
But last year, as I was getting more and more into comics and realizing how much money the habit could cost me, a friend suggested the library. And that's how it all began. Our library carries the trade volumes of comics, so I got a new library card and headed to their website to search for the comics and books I was interested in.
Then something else wonderful happened. I discovered the digital lending portion of the library. This meant I didn't always have to go to a branch to get books. I could download them to my Kindle and read away. It isn't the best interface, but it works and, best of all, the highlights from my kindle stay with me, even though Amazon would lead you to believe otherwise.
But I also go to the library quite often. A familiar refrain in chat to my coworkers is, "taking a break to go to the library and eat lunch." And I've read a lot of great comics series through the library; Planetary, Freakangels, Fables, Transmetropolitan, and more. And I have a lot of things on my wish list that I'll get to eventually.
One of the reasons I really love going to my local branch is that it's a Carnegie Library, which makes it an older building by Portland standards, and it's still doing the same thing all these years later. And it is my community there, kids excitedly looking for new books to read, people using computers, classes in the private room, it's great to see all the activity.
Even though I'm using a web site or an app on my iPad to access the library a lot of the time, I still have that same sense of wonder that I did as a small child climbing the stairs of the bookmobile. So many good things to read, so many ideas to think about, so much waiting there for me to discover. You can experience it too, find your local library.