A Rare Total Eclipse of the Library


Recently I renewed a few inter-library loan books, expecting to see the usual–a two-week bump in reading time. Instead, it was like Christmas morning. My renewal gave me a whopping 7-week extension!

Knowing technology and its sketchy reputation, I figured it was a ghost in the machine, a mistake sure to be caught and corrected by the library authorities-that-be, but a look at my library’s web site told me otherwise. The library was temporarily closing for a month or MORE so it could move to its new digs, meaning that all due dates, late dues, and fines were off. Granted clemency. Freed.

That’s right: a total eclipse of the library! (At this point, if you’re jealous, consider it a good sign… sort of like “Ice Cream Parlor 2 Miles Ahead.”)

With this knowledge, the race was on. I had 10 days to collect books from the old library before it was occluded. At that point, any books in my possession would make themselves at home for a month and a half at the very least.

As poetry books bear rereading, this would be a real treat. This meant setting aside time to scour the home library’s shelves in a leisurely fashion. It also meant placing holds on inter-library books that had no waiting lists, ones that would wend their ways to me ipso fasto–soon enough to beat the “temporarily dead line.”

Me, I am a big supporter of libraries and think they should be larger, better financed, and worthy of more taxpayer funds. Alas, too many of our town dollars go to athletic fields and programs instead, as if our children’s bodies alone were worthy of support. What about their minds?

Judge a town or city by its library, I always say. How big, how well-stocked, and how many hours open to the public.

And if the rare eclipse comes your way, giving you a book-borrowing holiday of sorts, don your glasses and look that gift horse in its shiny mouth!

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