Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Perfect Place

After so much time spent in coffee shops or holed up in my basement office, I was itching for a new writing venue. Someplace quiet, close, with good light and comfortable seating. I wanted a place away from home, where the distractions of renovations and yard work and my own predilection for tinkering in the kitchen constantly tug at my attention. A place where I didn't have to buy something to eat or drink in order to hang out, a place conducive to work, with free wi-fi and plenty of electrical outlets since my laptop battery is on the fritz.

Enter my public library.

Now, I've always loved libraries. I love that people have access to my books, and they are one of my favorite places to speak. And what amazing services public libraries provide! For one, there are databases galore, full of obscure articles and hard-to-find information. And then there are the people, the talented and skilled librarians themselves, who are always helpful as all get out. Need to know why cottonwood trees sometimes make a popping noise that sounds like a rifle shot in the winter? Need to know how many books by an author you reference in a query letter sold last month? Just walk up to the reference desk -- or make a phone call -- and ask.

The other night I discovered the Ask-A-Librarian feature on my local library's website. I type in: How can I get all the email addresses for libraries in Nebraska? Figuring I'd get an answer in the morning, since I was doing the asking at two a.m., I was surprised and delighted to get an instant response, from a live person!

But somehow I'd forgotten how much I adore the atmosphere inside the library: the hushed tones of patrons, the smell of ink on paper, the sound of rustling pages. After a week of daily trips to the desk in the back corner behind the periodicals, between the window and the potted ficus, I'm still giddy about my rediscovery of the library as a perfect place to write.

Thankful, even.


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Generally, I don't like to write anywhere but at home, but there have been times when summer heat (no A/C in apt.) has driven me to the local library. It is definitely the perfect place to hole up and create. Yay libraries!!!

Keith Raffel said...

The libraries here in Palo Alto are fine during the day, but when school is out, they are chock-full of teens. It's interesting anthropolgically but not conducive to work.

Mark Combes said...

I've found that libraries are very good for a quick nap. A trick I learned in college - and I must admit, haven't used in 20 years. But I do remember falling asleep during finals week and waking up to a dark archives room. Someone forgot to do a head count before closing up the thing for the night....