Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Library Fines and Reading Habits

I'm part way through reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I first heard Niffenegger talk about her book on an episode of the Diane Rehm show, but it's taken me awhile to get around to reading it. The book is due tomorrow, and I'm far enough along in the book to know I want to finish it (it's very imaginative, and I'm intrigued by the characters, and I can't predict where it's going, but I want to know), but not far enough to be able to finish it by tomorrow.

What's the big deal? Why not just renew it?

I have renewed it. Twice. So, I've had 6 weeks to read it, and I'm still not ready to return it.

So, I must ask, is this book worth the late fines I'm going to rack up if I keep it out a few more days?

In older days, I'd have said, "Sure. What's a dime or two?" But our library fees have gone up to a quarter a day. So, I could keep it through the week-end and make sure it's in the book drop Monday morning (I've been burned that way before, though). That would only be 50 cents, provided that I could finish.

I never used to have this problem, finding time to read. Of course, I used to have a more flexible schedule, and more time by myself. I also used to have a slower Internet connection, so I didn't do as much online. What causes what?

I'm happy to have a public library system, so I'm happy to pay taxes and the occasional fine. I'm also aware of how much less I'm using the library these days. Is it because I can afford to buy more books? Because I'm reading less? Because I hardly have time to go to the grocery store, much less the library? Again, some of all of the above.

I'm trying not to despair too much. I tell myself that I will have time to read voraciously again at some point in the future. I try to react to my life the way that parents of toddlers must: I tell myself to enjoy the moment, that I can return to other activities I enjoy at some later point.

But how I wish I had just a few more hours in the day!

For now, I'll keep the book. Maybe the fines will prompt me to actually preserve some time to read offline.


Karen J. Weyant said...

Oddly, enough, our college library does not charge faculty members overdue fines. Because of my habits with keeping library books out for habit, this is not a good thing!

Karen J. Weyant said...

Okay, I'm tired. It should read, Because of my habits of keeping library books out forever, this is not a good thing!