Like most of my librarian colleagues, I am a lifelong avid reader. On long car trips, when it got dark out I would hold up my books so I could read by the lights of the cars behind me. If nothing else was available I would read cereal boxes or circulars that had fallen out of the newspaper.
Not much has changed, except now I do my cereal box reading in the grocery aisle and I learn of weekly sales via email alert instead of paper fliers. Between my husband and me, we subscribe to six magazines, one of which is weekly. Since I work in a library, it’s a rare day when I don’t bring home at least one book, if not for me than for one of my kids. We’re all voracious readers, with very different habits. My son, who is 9, will fixate on a book or series for a short time, carrying it everywhere and reading it until the binding is coming loose. My daughter, who is 5, is starting to make the transition from having picture books read to her to working through early reader books on her own. My husband is a serial reader, finishing one book before moving on to the next.
And then there’s me and my bookish confession: I have a wandering eye, and I juggle several books at a time.
One of the most notable perks of working in a library is the books: they are everywhere. Yes, libraries are changing and we are much more than “just” books, but we still have a lot of old-fashioned, bound paper books on shelves, and I love that my work environment puts me squarely in the middle of so many of them. I love it so much that I can’t stop taking this part of my work life home with me. Yes, I am really enjoying the novel that I’m reading, but that commentator that I really like just came out with a new book, and I wanted to learn more about rubber-stamping, and Zentangle, and I’ve been meaning to read more graphic novels, and hey, I should grab this one while I’m reminded I’ve been meaning to learn more about World War I…
And that’s just the print material. Through Nevins I also enjoy a wealth of e-book and MP3 audiobook options from Overdrive and Axis 360. When the front seat of my car is home to too many books on CD and my nightstand no longer has room for a glass of water, I can load up my phone and tablet, too!
There is a wonderful Japanese word, tsundoku, that refers to a habit of acquiring books and allowing them to pile up unread. Fortunately I do my acquiring in the library, and they would like their books back at some point, so my hoard can only grow so much. While I have them, though, I try to remind myself that simply having them around isn’t enough–I have to take the time to read, enjoy, and learn from them.