I enter the door to near silence. There are all types of people here. People spanning various ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic status.There are a few people in line to talk to the front desk librarian, she speaks softly and helps people find what they need and takes fine payments. There are always people crowded around the newest books, I skip over those becuase I don’t trust them yet. I prefer the tried and true books that have made it to the ongoing collection. There are plenty of books that are not being crowded around.
There are parents quietly reading to their children in the children’s section while I browse the beginning reader books looking for a “Fly Guy” or “Elephant and Piggie” book we have yet to read. I find one and grab it. I scan the “Captain Awesome” books, looking for the second installation while secretly hoping its not there becuase I didn’t much care for the first one, its not.
I walk back towards the non-fiction books and start browsing. I don’t know what I want, I just want more books to read. I love that I can take as much time as I want and no one cares. I can take a book off the shelf and read as much or as little as I want. It’s already as much mine as it will ever be.
A man passes me by in the cramped aisle and says “Hello.” I let out an awkward, “Hi.” I wasn’t expecting to have to talk to anyone during this visit. I tell myself a nod would have sufficed. I never know what to do in those kind of situations. I come here as much for silence as I do for the books. Often I wish for a place like the Diogenes Club (but of course more inclusive), but I have yet to find anywhere more quiet than my own home home when my son is asleep. The library is the best I have found so far, for now it has to suffice, even if people talk to me every once in a while.
There are lots of people in the back clicking away at computers. They are mostly quiet and I don’t mind them at all. I’m glad for a place where anyone can access technology and the internet. The computers are always full. I’m not here for the computers.
As I round the next aisle I have one book in my hand, but I don’t feel finished yet, so I keep walking and very slowly browsing titles. Memoir, poetry, history, biography, sports; finally I get to the books about writing books and find another title that seems like the right choice for today. I’m surprised to find a book by an author I just recently discovered on a similar trip to Powell’s where I spent lots of time browsing. Since I’m almost finished with that book, this is the perfect choice. It seems I will be reading this authors works in reverse chronological order. Thats fine by me. I enjoy reading things in the unintended order sometimes, it gives you an entirely different perspective then reading them in the “correct” order. Sometimes thats just the perspective you need.
Between my three finds and my three holds I have a good stack to check out. I’m thankful for the computer that allows me to do so without bothering the librarian (they are always busy) and without needing to speak a word to anyone. I check out my books, renew the four others that I choose not to return on this trip, and head out the door off to “The Friendliest Store in Town” where I will have to do far more talking than is necessary to buy groceries.