Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Ways of the Professional Mooch: Library Edition

I've watched movies like Almost Famous and Hearts of Atlantis and thought of these single mothers giving their sons library cards as presents. In a way, it kind of sucks to get something like that for your birthday or something, but getting that key to other worlds through books is a pretty cool tool to have, and being as lazy as I am, I'd appreciate someone signing me up for a library card, eliminating my need to do that paperwork.

The library is one of those often-forgotten resources not only for books, but also for magazines, DVDs CDs and articles. During these tough economic times, many are making greater efforts to scrimp and save money whenever they can, and libraries is a great money-saver.

I and many others have or had the habit of simply purchasing a book that may have piqued our interests, and even with all the research made, user reviews and big-chain coupons to save a buck or two, and then buy it to find out the book is a dud. Sure you can Freecycle or leave it somewhere or pass it along to someone else, and the library has the same concept...except you have to return it to them. And if you like something, hey! You can buy it!

As a UCLA Alumni member, I get to have access to the entire University of California collection across the state. It's a pretty cool tool, as I primarily use it to get art books as a reference and inspiration from the UCLA Arts library, and if there's a particular book by an artist that great library doesn't have, I can request for the book be sent down to me. It's too bad that I mostly forget that I can do the same thing with novels and other books...that would have saved me a lot of money and stuff space in my living areas.

Nowadays, I have the help of my sister, who works at a pretty good library, to look for books for me. I'll be surfing the web and find a book I like, and internet-access willing, she will instantly go to her library's website if they have it and if it's checked in. If it is, she borrows it, and she doesn't have to pay late fees! It is something I have used several times.

I'm currently on the biggest knitting kick I've ever been on since learning how to knit and crochet (partly because I'm actually pretty decent at it now), and have wanted to make several items from designers who have published books. I was THISCLOSE to buying a book that had ONE pattern I wanted to use, but realized that I could just borrow it. My sister's library doesn't have it, but I discovered the best library tool IN THE WORLD (literally):

WorldCat: An online catalog to search the catalogs of libraries around the world.

In no time did I find that the LA Central Library had the book I wanted (but was checked out), and the next closest place was the Pasadena Central library. Now I have a Pasadena Library card and the book I want and only paid for the gas it took to find parking on a busy Sunday afternoon.

Sometimes, when I go into a library, "A Whole New World" that was in Disney's Aladdin comes in my head. Even though it's theoretical, the library is indeed a portal that can take you practically anywhere you wish, whether it be knitting patterns, the world of vampires, or the randy stories of Russian folktales (Hey, I was almost practically majoring in the stuff...folktales, that is).



  1. The library was the only place I could do homework. What little I did....