Monday, February 8, 2016

Libraries Freak Me Out

Today I went out to a public library for the first time in over a year. The place freaked me out. I didn't like being there. 

I'm not sure if it was the computers, all the people using the internet, the three security guards who were haunting the place (yes, they have security guards at the Logan Central Library now) or the row upon row of books that are sitting there waiting to be read by people.

I sat there in a chair waiting for a group session to start a reserved room (I was an hour early; as I wanted to sit and read; but silly me I forgot my book!) and instead, I looked around to see how much my local library had changed. Not much really - just it had internet and wifi, and security guards walking around looking really bored (and believe me, they were bored). 

Then, it dawned on me about why this place put me on edge: these books have been taken home by somebody else. They've been coughed on, sat on, sneezed on... they've been carted around in somebody's bags, or a dog might have slept on them in a teenager's bedroom floor. Yes, I was having the typical reaction of a not knowing where these books have been.
Even when I found a book I was interested in and I picked it up, took note of the ISBN, put it back, I really wanted to wash my hands. I know that sounds weird and germaphobic. But here at home, I know where my books have been (well, okay, most of the time); and when they come home, I wipe them down and Glen-20 them with a spray so they're clean. That sounds really over the top, but that's how I keep my home library the way it is - clean. 

I did borrow a book from the library. But when I got it home, I carefully placed it in such a way that it wasn't touching any of my chairs, my bed or anything personal... because, well, I don't know where it's been before my place. 

And yes, public libraries freak me out. Home libraries don't. I think it's because public libraries have so many books that I haven't read, haven't seen, don't want to see and there are so many aisles of the same thing the sight of them overwhelms me. However, a home library has many books in a small space and it's a lot of things in all at once; not spread out across a huge space. 

So, what about you? Do libraries have this affect on you? Or am I alone in this? Until today, I didn't know these buildings had this affect on me; not when they used to be places of comfort and wonder to me when I was younger. I wonder what changed? Until my next post, happy reading. 


  1. I'm proud of you for posting this :-) I have no interest in going to a public library for the same reason, I want to run and wash my hands, at times I can tell I'm holding my breath even. My friend loves a library and when going with her once, I think my daughter was 4 it was not a great experience, I couldn't wait to leave. It was when I realized my issue libraries and germs also. You are not alone. I'm shocked you checked a book out.

    1. It was a Nick Earls book - a recent one - and I wanted to read it. However when I got it home, I sprayed it with anti-bacterial spray and wiped it over... but it hasn't changed how I feel about it. Now I don't want to touch the pages...

      I wanted to see how much it would affect me outside the place. It affects me more than I thought. I simply refuse to touch the book.

      Now, I have to return the stupid thing.