Thursday, February 17, 2011

How do I love thee, Library? Let me count the ways...

You've probably noticed I haven't been very active on the blog recently. I think I already said it's because I'm writing a historical reference book, and it's requiring a LOT of research. But I thought I'd take a little break from my recent immersion in stacks and stack of history books to write an ode to the place that is making this job possible: my local library.

My local library is one of the biggest single-branch libraries in the state, with a wonderful collection of books, videos, and I borrow items regularly just for my own entertainment. But my library is also part of a state-wide consortium, the Michigan e-Library (aka MeL), that lets me borrow books from any member library ... for FREE. So when I'm working on a major project like this one, I search the MeL database, put in a request, and they mail the book I want to my local library, where I pick it up as I would a book from my home library. For this project, I've received books from libraries at Oakland University, U of M Dearborn, Grand Valley State, MSU, Wayne State, West Bloomfield, and St. Clair Shores, among others. I can't imagine how I'd get access to those books otherwise.

The library also subscribes to various databases, so that I can search them for biographies, reference books, and newspaper articles that might be useful--and they will be, when I get around to writing the biographies for this book.

But wait! There's more! I recently got an e-reader, which I love and call Shiny (because it is shiny and I love it). My library belongs to another consortium which lends e-books and audio files, so all I have to do is log in and download something to read. Last week I "checked out" my first e-book, read it comfortably in one hand while using the exercise bike, and "returned" it.

Now I must end this love letter to my library, as it's time for a visit ... I need more books! Research materials! Audio books for a long drive! And maybe a treat from the in-house coffee shop! Swoon! I'll see you soon, my love!


  1. I love the Michigan e-library. I get lots of books there I want to read that the Ann Arbor District Library doesn't have. In fact, I'm picking up one today.