Being weird about having access to a university library

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It’s excellent having access to a university library. This is because they have the most audacious range of books. The collections cater for the usual academic needs, but there’s other books there too. I’ve often found one that’s been gifted (within another collection) from somewhere, decades ago. Obscure, beloved, inscribed. Our council libraries are good; they are very considerate and always appropriate. Academic libraries are kind of abnormal. The range and diversity of books is ridiculous. Volume ones sit consistently without volume twos. Books that are unpopular, strange, obscure, unknown, loved just once, will definitely be there. Dressed in paper, boards, leather; ancient, modern, paper clipped, stapled, dropping old library tickets, and containing yellowed bookplates that say, “from the collection of Professor Frederick May”. I don’t go with a list. I want to find things that I would otherwise miss. This way, I found Shotaro Yasuoka, Blaise Cendrars and Edwidge Danticat. And once (long ago) Helen Garner. Sometimes I even look for what I’m supposed to be reading (for the study that has allowed me to use the library in the first place). But mostly not. I just prefer looking. Many of the books are unfashionable, too heavy, without dust covers, and shelved with library stickers across their eyes. Doesn’t matter. It’s weird in these places, in an untapped, endless and brilliant kind of way.

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5 thoughts on “Being weird about having access to a university library

  1. However useful electronic collections may be, you can’t browse them in the same pleasurable fashion. Give me “real” books any day. Just a thought, do books become “real” in the same sense as the velveteen rabbit? I’m crazy I know, but then, I talk to magpies and my plants too… Contentedly crazy. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think books become “real” over time – or at least they have a “real” voice. I often stand and look at the Margaret Atwoods on my shelf at home and after a while begin to feel curiously comforted. So, they must be real. She sure is! My library is every bit “alive”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on A Traveller's Tales and commented:
    However useful electronic collections may be, you can’t browse them in the same pleasurable fashion. Give me “real” books any day. Just a thought, do books become “real” in the same sense as the velveteen rabbit? I’m crazy I know, but then, I talk to magpies and my plants too… Contentedly crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

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