Friday, May 9, 2008

Too Many Books?

Does anyone know if there is a 12-step program for libraries? More specifically, library use? Because I think I might need one of those. Now, in all fairness to me, being addicted to books is probably a lot better for me than being addicted to a lot of other things. Alcohol, gambling, chocolate (really, I'm NOT addicted), collecting troll dolls, etc. But I do seem to have a serious problem.

I needed to go to the library yesterday to pick up some items on hold for me. Three items, to be precise, and only two of them were books (the other being a "Learn Chinese in Your Car" CD set). My original plan was to go to the library, approach front desk, return the items that needed returned, pick up the items being held, and leave. And I had every intention of doing just that. I often have every intention of just picking up items on hold and leaving. It never happens. Never. I mean, maybe once, but probably never.

Shortly before I left for the library, I decided I'd let myself look at the new book shelf and then pick up my held items. Nothing else. How much damage can I do in the new book section?

A lot.

Now, everyone should keep in mind that I have hundreds of books at home that I own, any number of which haven't been read. I also have this shelf known as the "read me and get rid of me shelf," mostly made up of books people have loaned to me or from the paperback exchange at the library (another REALLY bad thing for my little problem). And I still had four other books checked out. But I'm a mature, fairly rational person. I can handle the new book section.

Um, not so much. Seven books later (not including those on hold for me), I'm starting to doubt the realism of my plan. Now, I did manage to find two books on the shelf that are on my To-Be-Read list (another issue in itself). One of which I could not believe was on the shelf (The World Without Us). At this point, I literally have to drag myself away from the new book shelf without looking at everything there.

But as I'm walking out, I go by the books on tape. And I remember talking to one of the foster parents that I visit that I really should have picked up a book on tape the last time I was at the library since I can spend 15 hours or more a week in my car, driving all over the place. So I grab a book on tape. And then I go to the desk and check everything out, including my three items on hold. Luckily for me, I had put my stuff to return in a bag, so I have some way to carry all of this stuff out of the library. And yes, not being able to sanely carry all of my books out of the library is a frequent, common problem with me.

So I sit here now with 14 books checked out (not including those paperbacks mentioned before), one book on tape, one Learn Chinese CD set, and a movie. And not nearly enough hours in my days.


Anetka said...

You have just described my visits to library!!! Very similar problem I've got. The only solution for me is to put down on a piece of paper what I am interested in and don't look around, not even a slightlest glims on the book shelves!
I know I am missing a lot, but at the end of the day I will miss even more if I overload myself and will not read even what I had planned:)

btw. great blog you've got here:)

Tammy said...

Myra- i'll make you feel better. In a household of 4 people we honestly normally have... wait for it... around 100 books out. at a time. I know, because i'm in charge on online renewals, and it tallies it up for you. I barely ever go myself; i just reserve what i want and Pete picks it up for me on his nearly daily visit. {If he ever had an affair, it would be with a librarian, i swear. We even went to the library on dates.} Anyhow, if i did let myself set foot in a lib, i'd have exactly the same problem as you. Which is why i don't. And i think i still have out about 25-30 book just for me! Problem is, i get hooked on an author and want to read everything they wrote so i reserve it all at once. Then i find another and another. I'm currently reading hmmm- 3 series? Not to mention the non fiction books. Good thing there's a limit to how many times they let you renew or i'd never return anything!!