#ShelfLove – Library Love

Shelf Love Challenge 2016

For this month’s #ShelfLove discussion, participants are supposed to write about their local library.  However, I’ve done that before.  A couple of different times.  I’ve also written about the important role libraries have played in my life.  Libraries have had such an enormous impact on my life that I want to be a Librarian.  Unfortunately, that’s several years away, and I haven’t set foot in a library since before I graduated.  I’ve stopped myself from checking out any books because I have so many at home that my shelves are struggling under the weight.  So, instead of writing about a library I haven’t been to in several months, I’ve decided to re-share those older posts along with a few links about libraries and librarians.

Posts I’ve written:

Other stuff:

The Book-it Brigade!

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On Wednesday, I got up earlier than usual, so I could get to campus from Austin to participate in the Book-it Brigade.  What is the Book-it Brigade?  The Book-it Brigade was a human chain to pass six books from Old Main, where Texas State University first housed its library, all the way to the Alkek Library, which opened in 1990.  This particular Book-it Brigade was to celebrate those 25 years as well as reenact the first Book-it Brigade that was done when the Alkek Library first opened.

For the 1st time ever, you get to see my non-five-year-old face.

While I wasn’t even living in Texas when I was ten years old, this celebration is extremely important to me for three reasons.  First of all, the Alkek library is where I discovered that I want to go to grad school for Library Science and Information Technology.  Secondly, this is my final semester at TSU.  I will be graduating in December, so getting the chance to be a part of this huge, wonderful event to celebrate my all-time favorite library is a big deal for me.  I still get a little choked up thinking about it.  Getting emotional is also due to my third, but most important, reason: the Alkek Library is why I chose to attend TSU.

The 6th book was a Kindle to represent how the library has grown over the years.
It just wouldn’t be a celebration without cupcakes!


There are lots of reasons to apply to a university, and a few of them were secondary reasons, after the fact, for why I was glad I chose TSU.  However, how many people do you know who went to their university for the sole reason of wanting to have access to the library?  Well, when I found out the Alkek Library was seven football field sized floors stacked on top of each other, and it housed over 2 million books, my jaw dropped, and my decision made.  I have not once regretted that choice.

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Here’s to 25 more years of the Alkek Library!

Armchair BEA: Library Love – Book Haul

Armchair BEA
Image: Amber Ostheimer


Last year I participated in a Summer Library challenge and wrote “Library Storytime”, which is the story of how libraries have been important to me throughout my life.  I had also started a book haul feature titled “You Only Spent How Much?!”, but once I began participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge, I had to discontinue it.  Since today’s other topic for Armchair BEA is “Library Love”, and I’ve been making use of my library in order to read the books I can’t buy, I decided to show you my most recent library book haul:

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As you can see, most of the books, are about my favorite genre, Fantasy.  Manifesta is a book I decided to check out after reading The Essential Feminist Reader, and On the Shoulders of Hobbits is one of the many books about Hobbits that I will probably want to buy my own copy of after I’m finished reading it, but will have to add it to my ever-growing wishlist instead.  What you don’t see is the ridiculous number of ebooks I regularly check out to avoid injury from lugging around so many books.  My library is great in that it often has both a physical and digital copy so I can spend some time in the library with the physical book to see if I want to continue reading it, and then download the digital edition later.

Thursday’s Quotables #2

Today’s quotes come from the 2 other books about books and reading I found at the library: Adventures in Reading by May Lamberton Becker and The Delights of Reading by Otto L. Bettmann; the latter being a book of quotes compiled for The Center of the Book in the Library of Congress.  Though it is full of quotes, there were only 2 that stood out from all the rest.  The first one brought a smile to my face; the second made me think for a good long while:

“Build yourself a book-nest to forget the world without” – Abraham Cowley

“Where books are burned, human beings will in the end be burned too” – Heinrich Heine

My first thoughts were of the Nazis.  I then turned my thoughts to the author of the quote, who was a German Romantic.  The Romantics often saw themselves as being prophetic, and though I’m sure this quote was inspired from the world and times in which he lived (especially considering how much of his work was banned in Germany, and having lived out the last years of his life in Paris), I couldn’t help but imagine what his reaction would’ve been if he had been living during the beginning of his country’s darkest years, and see him writing this very quote in response.  Also interesting to note, is that the Nazis hated Heine, and so his books were more than likely banned and burned yet again.  I don’t know about you, but that, and the fact that a Neo-Nazi is sitting on the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, inspires me to read everything Heine ever wrote.

On to lighter subjects….

I loved Adventures in Reading for many reasons, but mostly for the following quote that I can most relate to:

“One day when it was raining heavily…I turned into a great public library to read…and it was not until…the last page that I lifted my eyes…and found that in the meantime the chairs near by had been taken by a dozen or more readers who had come in – and gone out again.”

This is the opening of her chapter on Romance, Adventure, and Fantasy books, and though she was writing specifically about a play, I know that feeling very well of getting so lost in a book that reality disappears until “The End”.  Even more so, I’ve had this experience during rainy days in the library.  I’m fairly certain “rainy day spent in the library” is my favorite day; the second being “rainy day spent in the bookstore’s cafe”.

In a later chapter, she goes on to speak about leaving good books out for children to discover and read on their own.  What I liked about it the most was her equating good books with cookie jars:

“You do not force cookies on healthy children, but you leave them where they can be reached in an emergency.”

Then, her chapter on travel books opens with:

“There are two reasons for reading travel books: because you expect to travel, and because you don’t.”

I believe my love of travel books stems from my love of The Hobbit, and I place it right below my love of Adventure and Fantasy books.  Perhaps that’s why I love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon so much; It contains a bit of everything: travel, adventure, fantasy, romance, and history.

Hmmmm…..It’s supposed to rain again today, so maybe I’ll grab a good travel book, go to the bookstore’s cafe and get myself a cookie 🙂


Thursday’s Quotables #1

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This week’s quotes are from a book I didn’t read in its entirety, but still enjoyed the bits I did read, Through the Magic Door by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  There I was, minding my own business, wandering through the library when I came across the section of books about books and/or reading.  Most of them were really old, and since I love books about books and reading, and really old books (mostly because of the smell and feel of them), I began perusing the shelf.  I ended up taking 3 of them home with me, and if anyone reading this were to see how much weight I was already schlepping around on my back as well as how far I had to walk to get back to my car, you would understand why I only picked 3 instead of the whole row of books.  Through the Magic Door was one of the 3, and all because of the very first lines:

“I care not how humble your bookshelf may be, nor how lowly the room which it adorns.  Close the door of that room behind you, shut off with it all the cares of the outer world, plunge back into the soothing company of the great dead, and then you are through the magic portal into that fair land whither worry and vexation can follow you no more.  You have left all that is vulgar and all that is sordid behind you.  There stand your noble, silent comrades, waiting in their ranks.”

I heard Benedict Cumberbatch reading those words in my head, and didn’t even look through the rest of the book before tucking it under my arm.  When I got home and began reading, I realized the book is a detailed description, with many tangents, of his favorite books and why they are his favorites, and most of the references are so specific to the time he wrote the book that you would have to know a lot about England during his life.  It’s a very interesting read, if you’re into that sort of thing.  I mostly skimmed, hoping to come across more great lines like the one above, but only found this one:

“The dead are such good company that one may come to think too little of the living.”

Oh how true, sir, oh how true; in more ways than one!  I remember my love of cemeteries when I was growing up, not just because of all that history, and wondering what the stories were behind the names on the markers, but because it was silent and no one bothered me.  These are the same reasons I love libraries.  Also, that line, taken out of context, is all the more wonderful.  I could see it being a line in a story about ghosts or maybe vampires, or anything that would pay homage to Poe.

I love these 2 quotes so much, and the title of the book, that I’m going to borrow the title for another page on this blog, where I will list my own favorite books.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to discuss why I love each book on the list, but I will link them to Goodreads.

Library Storytime

Summer Library Challenge

I came across a Library User Quiz from the Pew Research Internet Project today while I was wandering through my Facebook Interest Lists.  I am, of course, a Library Lover.

My love of libraries started very early, in school.  Since I grew up in a military family, I moved around quite a bit.  I was also naturally shy.  So, I spent most of my time reading.  The library at each school I attended over the years became my place of comfort and discovery.  I would check out as many books as I was allowed and devour them, and my favorite days were when the class would go to the library for any reason.

When I got old enough to go places on my own, I would go to the public library if it was within walking distance.  I would spend hours in a chair, no matter how uncomfortable, reading the interesting looking books I had come across while wandering the shelves.  This was how I discovered most of my all time favorite books, including The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Eyes of the Dragon as well as The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and Matilda by Roald Dahl.

I also remember the first time I learned to use the public library’s new computerized card catalogue.  I had already fallen in love with computers thanks to the game Oregon Trail, but the ease of finding books with just a few keystrokes had me glued to the screen searching for everything I could think of, just to see the results.  I would write down the call numbers and then go on a hunt to see if I could find all those books.  It’s almost as if I didn’t believe the computer would direct me to the right place until I saw the books there on the shelf exactly where the computer said they would be.

Though I remember using and mastering the original card catalogue, I don’t miss it, especially now that most libraries have their catalogue’s online.  I no longer have to wait impatiently in line to use one of the library’s two or three computers to find what I’m looking for.  I can search to my heart’s content from the comfort of my home, and with the increasing availability of e-books, I might not even have to leave my apartment if I don’t want to.

When I want to get out, besides books stores, the library is where I’m likely to go.  My university’s library is one of the main reasons I chose to apply.  It’s seven stories, each the size of a football field.  I’ve spent entire days there, sometimes to do research, sometimes to hideaway in one of the chairs and just read, and sometimes just to get on the internet.  It’s my first go-to whenever I’m looking for anything.  I can’t wait till the Fall semester starts!

Library Discovery

Summer Library Challenge

I haven’t discovered anything new about my library this week that I haven’t already written about.  I did, however, recently start reading The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and that got me interested in the truth behind the legend of Arthur.  So I made use of the library’s virtual section and downloaded a book on the subject.

I wish I had more to write about my library, but I just don’t.  That’s a little bit disappointing since I thought that surely the public library in a large city like Austin would have more to offer.  I know they probably don’t have the kind of money that my university has, so I really can’t compare the two libraries, but I’m really missing my school’s library right now.  Luckily the Fall semester isn’t too far away and that will justify making the hour drive.  I also have access to their e-books without driving, so at least there’s that.

Library Social

Summer Library Challenge

I checked Facebook for the Austin Public Library, and sure enough they have a page.  While looking at a few of the most recent posts, I learned something new: in addition to e-books, digital comic books and graphic novels are also available!

I don’t currently have Twitter simply because I find it to be a gigantic rabbit hole to nowhere satisfying.  I wouldn’t even be on Facebook anymore if it weren’t for the ability to create interest lists so that I never have to use the News Feed.

I also checked Youtube, but there were only a few videos and none of them looked even remotely interesting.  At least there is the decent, frequently updated Facebook page.

Summer Library Challenge Survey

Summer Library Challenge

Library Survey

1. What’s the name of your library and how close is it to where you live?

     Austin Public Library.  The closest branch to where I live is about 3 miles away.

2. How frequently do you go to the library?

     Today was my first visit since I moved to Austin.

3. What is the first section you normally go to when you get to the library?

     Usually, in any library, I go straight for whichever section has the book(s) I looked up beforehand.  That’s usually Fiction.

4. Share a link to your library’s web page. How often do you use it and what for?

     Austin Public Library

     So far, I’ve only used this website to look up the address of the nearest branch, but typically I use a library’s website to search for the books I want to read before I head out to the library.

5. Does your library have a summer reading program for your age group? Do you participate and why or why not?

     Yes!  I was a bit surprised to find out there is a Summer Reading Program for Adults.  It started June 1st, and runs until the end of August, and for every five books I read, I can enter to win prizes.  I will be participating.

6. What is one thing you can think of that would make your library better?

     The hours they’re open.  Every branch is closed two days a week, and at least two other days of the week it’s only open for a few hours.

7. What programs have you attended or thought of attending at your library?

     I considered joining one of the many book clubs, but none of them grabbed my interest.  The majority of the other programs are either for kids or writers.

8. What is the best thing about your library?

     The “Virtual Library”, the library’s downloadable materials section.  Since the hours are limited, I’ll probably be “checking out” more e-books than physical books from the local branch.

City Shuts Down Free Library Built By Nine-Year-Old | The Mary Sue


City Shuts Down Free Library Built By Nine-Year-Old | The Mary Sue.

I normally don’t blog about the various things I see during my wanderings on the interwebs, but since I’m participating in the Summer Library Challenge, I couldn’t pass this article up.  I was going to add a poll asking if you think the city is right or not, but I’m pretty sure if you’re following this blog you’re probably biased in favor of the books.