Oberlin Blogs

In support of my public library

March 29, 2009

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

At this point, it seems appropriate to add another "this is what I did over spring break" entry to the mix. Unlike several of my friends who did some traveling, I just went home. My little brother had his Eagle Award ceremony, which I definitely wanted to attend. I also had several ballet classes to take and, of course, I needed to visit my local library.

I'm not sure how much I've written about this before, but I love books and I love reading. My mother started taking me to the library when I was very, very small, I worked there through high school, and I cannot go in without having to stop and say hi or chat with at least one of the librarians. With this in mind, it's easy to understand why I'd been planning my library visit two weeks before spring break.

I could spend the rest of this post muttering to myself about the eight books I read over break. However, I don't think that's what you're here for. (If it is, feel free to comment and I can give you the list.) Instead, I will bring this love letter to public libraries back around to a topic that actually pertains to Oberlin: the Oberlin public library.

I first visited the public library during orientation week my freshman year so that I could get a library card. Contrary to the rumors I have heard around campus, it does not cost money to get a library card. The only time you have to worry about paying is when you have something overdue.

On that visit, I also spent some time getting to know the various sections of the library, starting with the children's books (they have, you'll be glad to know, an extensive Animorphs collection) and moving on through to the adult section. At one point in my life, I thought that I would eventually move past the juvenile and then the young adult sections of the library and read strictly adult books. That hasn't happened yet. I'm beginning to suspect that it never will.

I've spent most of my time in the Oberlin public library gaining an intimate knowledge of the young adult section. It's pretty respectable in size, though it tends not to get new books very quickly. It does, however, make up for this by containing a large number of books that I thought looked good in the bookstore about four years ago but then never read because my own library never actually bought them.

I've spent less time with the adult section, but I will say that it appears to do very well on the new book front. I am currently reading Drood by Dan Simmons, a novel about Charles Dickens's later years. The library had bought it and I had put a hold on it very shortly after it came out. So no problems there.

And, of course, there are the DVDs. I spent my freshman year working my way through a good bit of their BBC dramas collection, watching missed episodes of shows that had been dropped by my local PBS station and discovering a few new shows. Just the fact that there's this much British drama available should say something about the rest of the library's DVD collection--there's a lot of it.

What conclusions should you be drawing from all of this? I'd say there are probably two things. The first is that there's something at the public library for everyone. The second is that it's a good library and well worth your time.

(The third is that I'm really not as obsessed with libraries as it appears.)

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