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 I think I already said it's because I'm writing a historical reference book, and it's requiring a LOT of research.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!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Photo of the Week--2/14/10

I'd almost forgotten about this quirky little architectural detail in the town of Freiburg, Germany, which we visited in the summer of 2000. There were these little canals running throughout the town, and Boy was utterly fascinated. I barely got him to stop playing around them to take this picture, and for months—and I do mean MONTHS—afterward all he could talk about were his plans to put a canal in our garden, in the front yard, at school, at Grandma's house. It's strange, the things your kids get obsessed about that occupy your conversations for months on end, and that you later forget about. But Boy definitely went through a "canal engineer" phase, a major part of his sojourn through the "Age of Lego."