I’m addicted to the written word. Always have been. But oddly enough, I haven’t checked out a book from my local library in at least a couple of decades.
I don’t have to, you see. I’m very fortunate to have collected a lifetime of books to read (actually more than a lifetime of books). I’ve got books in just about every category: horror, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, classics, TV tie-ins, thrillers. I’ve got a library of nonfiction books to peruse any time the feeling strikes. I’ve got boxes upon boxes of magazines (Time, Discover, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Wired, Fangoria, Hit Parader, Circus, Metal Edge, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, TV Guide). I’ve got comic books.
I’m never at a loss to find something to read, and for some reason I still buy new books every month.
I’m not sure why books have always meant so much to me, but I’m glad for it. Every time I read something special happens. I get carried away to another place. I get caught up in the words and sentences on the page. The characters come alive.
I remember reading book after book as a child. I consumed everything: Ellery Queen, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Conan, for starters. The list expanded as I grew older, but the classic detectives and pulp heroes like Conan remain my favorites.
Corny, I know. Geek. Yup. Nerd. Yup.
Hey, I’m that guy in “Time Enough At Last,” that old Twilight Zone episode starring Burgess Meredith in which he’s the last survivor on earth with all the time in the world to read all the books he wants. (I only hope I never break my glasses!)
So, given my avoidance of the library in all this time, what am I doing serving on my local library board?
That’s a question I asked myself last evening as I sat in on my first board meeting.
The answers, however, are easy.
For starters, I wanted to do something for my community. (The only other board that had an opening at the time I applied was the storm water board, and that just didn’t sound all that appealing.)
But, more importantly, if I can do anything to help promote reading and literacy among children, teens and adults throughout the community, the library board seems like the perfect place to do so.
As a child, I spent hours in the library at school reading everything from The Hardy Boys to Perry Mason. The library was an escape. A haven. An adventure. Maybe by serving on the library board, I can help spark that feeling of magic in others.
In today’s busy world, it’s neat to know that a place like your library is still there. It’s a place for quiet study or research, or a place to get lost in the pages of a book.
It’s even more fascinating to see that the library has changed so much, and continues to change and grow. During our library board meeting, our library director talked about a new ebook program that will significantly expand the library’s digital collection of books for patrons. (Did I mention I also have a growing list of ebooks in my Kindle and tablet to read?)
What’s more, she talked about plans to expand the library’s teen center.
Even though I have ample books to read, I feel like I’ve been missing out on an old friend. I know I will be visiting my library a lot more often now. There are adventures there waiting to be discovered, and rediscovered.
Anyone care to join me?