When did the library get so crowded?

Sunday afternoon I drove to my local library to pick up two books and a cd that were on hold for me. I drove through this small suburban town; a town with sidewalks, small businesses and runners...lots of runners enjoying this sunny mild weather and blue skies February day. 

I pulled into the parking lot and did a couple of loop-tee-loops around the lot to discover that there were no parking spots available.  I turned into the extended lot searching for a spot. Still no luck.  Finally I gave up and parked on the street. The parking meters are debit card friendly, thank God. Who carries spare change anymore? I alway feel bad for people asking for spare change on the street. If they could only come up with a Paypal system for homeless it would be easier to give to these people in need. Instead of giving out a used coffee cup they could hold a swipe machine or better yet maybe an app for direct bank-to-bank transfers. 

I made my way into the library.  This place has been my fortress of solitude for the last ten years; just me and a couple of old men reading the daily newspaper.  Not this day.  This day I walked into a crowded library.  The checkout desk had a line at least six people deep.  The magazine section was filled with browsers. All the computer stations were filled up with patrons.  DVD section was reminiscent of the days when people actually browsed the shelves selectively choosing.  Kids were quietly running around. This place was a mecca of parents and kids, grandparents and grandkids, hipsters, college students, young-biz-start-up-types...it was community culture in action. 

Then it dawned on me why this place was crowded: three big box-bookstores have closed down in this part of town.  If you want to touch a book in this neighborhood you have to go to the library.

My favorite thing about the library is that it is filled with all the knowledge you could ever possibly want.  The library even provides nice people to help you find the stuff that you want.  The best part is the stuff you want is free for the taking. But keep it past three weeks and they will charge you a nickel.

There is even a used bookstore in the basement where you can get last year's bestsellers for two bucks.  All this place needed was a coffee shop to turn it into the holy land!