You know what, I just got my membership card for a public library. Yay!
I used to be a member there when I was still in college (and that was more than ten years ago), and I used to visit the library at least once a week.
That was before I was caught up with life; there's always something more important than 'just reading books'. There was always some more important place to go, more important people to meet, more important works to do.
I still read books. I never really stopped reading. I couldn't do it. But I never visited the library again. I rarely went to the bookstore. I ordered books online and wait for them to be delivered to my office. I'd stopped having fun the way I used to do with books. To be around them. To walk among the high shelves in the library with tilted head, trying to read all the titles, because, honesty, most of the time I just went there with no specific books or topics in mind. I'd just stroll between the shelves until I find something that caught my interest.
I usually went there with my sister and we could spend hours, browsing for books from one shelf to another, thinking of which one to prioritize because surely we wouldn't be able to read all the books that interested us within two weeks. And that, was such an important matter to decide.
Sometimes I'd go to the bookstore with my sister, both of us were still in college at the time, walking slowly between the stacks of books, stopped every now and then at the title that we found interesting, and, most of the time, wishing that we could buy all the books that we want instead of choosing only one or two books to suit our college student's budget. We would go home dreamy-like afterwards, thinking about all the books that we couldn't buy, feeling sad yet excited to read the new books that we bought. We'd usually stopped by at a coffee shop to immediately open the new books and see what they got to tell us, and continued talking about those lovely books that we had to left at the bookstore. And we would spend our way home in silence, both with nose stuck deep into the book.
It wasn't until last month that I finally decided to register for a library membership again. I still order books online. But to be part of a library, a place where you can walk slowly between hundreds of books, where everyone speaks in hushed voice and thus makes your senses fully concentrate on the letters printed on the side cover, is different.
Now, once a week, I relish the moment when I walk into the alley between the high shelves, looking at those row of books, still with tilted head, but I use the catalog more often now, as I usually only have thirty minutes before the library closed. I'd walked out of the library with the book in my hand, and spend my two-hours trip home with my nose stuck on the book pages.
It's a pleasant feeling and I'm glad to be feeling the feeling again, though I'm alone now without my sister. And by having said that, I guess I'm going to dedicate this blog post for her. I hope this blog post brings smile on her face the way it does to me :)