I join the library.

The women at the desk squeal in delight.

I am reading between the lines here, but I get the strong impression that they are very excited to have a new joiner. I have turned up with the Toddler, meaning to enrol her, but have been seduced myself by the promise of free books and somewhere warm to go in the winter. Two joiners!!! They flutter around on their computer system.

“Here is a leaflet,” one says, “explaining all the services that the library can offer you.”

“I’m really just here for the books,” I reply. “She loves books, and…”

“There are DVDs over there,” continues the Librarian, ignoring me, “and also some computer games. There is a small charge for those,” she adds sadly.

“It’s mainly the books that…”

“Now here is your PIN number,” she says, leaning forwards conspiratorially. “With this, you can use our Internet access here, which is free.”

“Ah – well, I have the Internet at home, so really I expect I’ll just…”

“You never know when you’ll find it useful – for instance if your internet at home breaks.”

I concede the point. If my own internet breaks, it would be useful to have a spare one.

“Plus,” she concludes triumphantly, “you can use that in ANY Norfolk library. So, for instance, you could be in Norwich, and need to send an email, and you could just go to the Norwich library and give them your PIN number and send your email!”

“It is possible that I might be in Norwich and need to send an urgent email,” I concur. She gives me a warm smile, having battered me into submission. The Toddler is starting to wreck the place, so I hurry her into the children’s section.

I love books, but I am ashamed to say that I have fallen out of the habit of reading. I used to devour them in bed, on buses and trains, whilst having a poo, whilst waiting for people to arrive in pubs. Then I sort of discovered other things – the internet, DVD’s, computer games etc, and books seemed such a lot of work. I am stupid and lazy. The sight of shelves and shelves of them inspires me.

The Toddler chooses some books. I choose some books. This is a new beginning for me – I shall read them and examine them and perhaps write reviews in my Private Secret Diary. Books. It is the future.

34 Comments

  1. “on buses and trains, whilst having a poo” – I shall never travel on public transport in Norfolk again. Dirty!

  2. There are still books in the city libraries? I had thought they were all converted to provide endless rows of uncomfortable seats, the kind that someone can fall asleep in if they’re really, really committed and thoroughly drunk. This book thing sounds like they’re getting distracted from serving their core patrons.

  3. Becky do not worry. First you have misinterpreted that line, I cannot imagine how. Secondly there is not much public transport, unless you wanted to try to get hold of John Twonil and his community bus which got stolen (only once).

  4. ‘You never know when you’ll find it useful – for instance if your internet at home breaks.’

    WHAT! The Internet can break??? I am starting to have palpatations.

  5. Well done Jonny.
    It is highly commendable to suport your local library whilst the services are still free.
    If you start a local book club you’ll have even more excuses to down a pint or two at the village pub whilst discussing finer literary points.
    Perhaps we could all join in – what are you reading at the moment?

  6. The thing is that the Village Book Group is all women. And I am a bit scared.

    I could do a book group on here!!!

  7. I am in the library using their internets because I don’t have my own one. I find this a handy way of wasting time.

  8. i would’ve slaped her for saying ‘PIN number’, stormed out yelling ‘f*ck free internet – it’s just not worth the pain’ and let the toddler grow up illiterate.

  9. Glad we share a fascination of poo… er.. of reading books while we poo, although I had the dignity to phrase it slightly differently.

  10. agrajjag – Quite right, I always slape people who succumb to RAS syndrome as well.

  11. I used to work in the local library. I loved it. It was especially exciting when someone came in to join the library and I could explain all the services we offered. Books and vinyl records in those days, of course. No internet. There was no such thing as the internet.

  12. Reminds me of this web-comic from a couple days ago.

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/3/9/

    Try not to check out too many Wii games.

  13. The thing is that the Village Book Group is all women. And I am a bit scared.

    I could do a book group on here!!!

    You wimp – are there no male literary intellectuals in the village?
    Make a stand for the equality of the sexes and join the ladies – or cop out and start a blogging book club. We’ll all support you.

  14. I suppose books might count as the future in Norfolk, seeing as how you bourgeios colonists are the first people to live there who could actually read. A couple of generations of interbreeding will fix that, tho’. Your grandkids will be squatting around poking sticks into termite mounds just like the locals. Lovely!

    Does this mean that your new computer games are already gathering dust? Or did you leave your wii on the bus next to all the poo?

  15. I suppose books might count as the future in Norfolk, seeing as how you bourgeios colonists are the first people to live there who could actually read. A couple of generations of interbreeding will fix that, tho’. Your grandkids will be squatting around poking sticks into termite mounds just like the locals. Lovely!

    Does this mean that your new computer games are already gathering dust? Or did you leave your wii on the bus next to all the poo?

  16. Odd. I wonder if this comment will post twice too…

    Anyway, let’s start go ahead and start Jonny’s Online Book Club. I suggest works of an improving nature with special relevance to Jonny’s situation and needs. How about “Buy Her A Ring, Already! – overcoming marriage phobia in middle age males”. Or “Paid Employment – the fun new alternative to sitting around at home all day like a low-rent Lady of Shalott”? It’s all good…

  17. PIN number is actually a tautology – it stands for personal identification number. I should mention that when you’re dropping your Hardy Boys books off.

  18. Oooh! Do we get to make book club suggestions? I usually avoid anything literary like the plague, but seeing as it’s on here I’m sure it’ll be okay.

  19. A book club composed of members of Jonny’s commentators? I am fascinated at the thought of what Ivan et al will come up with as suggestions. I hope more than books about poo.

  20. How advanced is Toddler? I think we’d be up for the flappy/feely book club review thing. “Mmm, that fur feels good, even with mashed carrot and potato smeared on it”, “Would have been an excellent flappy book full of interesting origami and surprise revelations, had the child before not ripped off all the flappy bits while having a frilly in the library.” Having visited libraries myself (in between poking termites with sticks, thanks Ivan), I understand that surge of wholesomeness that you get – did you want to become a Christian, plant pumpkin seeds and make home-made bread all in the space of 5 seconds? Hmm.

  21. You do realise (sorry to rain on your parade) that the books have to be returned. By a particular date.
    The book club would be fun but the practicalities of everybody getting a copy of the same book at the same time would be difficult. And the best part is discussing it over wine and goodies – how would we manage that? Lovely idea tho’.

  22. I remember my daddy taking me to our local library to enroll me when I was very young, and I think he had to get a card too in order for me to get one (something about being a minor and irresponsible maybe?). Nice to know that some things don’t change.

  23. Soph hates a lot of people who use the library service. That’s because she’s a librarian. The tales she tells of what the public get up to would freak you out.

  24. Books are indeed fantastic, but I too am lazy, so I just keep re-reading the diskworld novels so I don’t have to pay attention.

  25. Ooh I was a librarian a while ago, & still have a weekly date with all my family at the library late night on Friday.
    When my youngest was born, my husband went to the library with the older ones & enrolled the baby when she was 2 days old & not even out of the maternity ward and present to prove her existence! I suppose my colleagues on the membership desk might have recognised her surname, or then again they may just have squealed with delight at the prospect of another reader! Library card – her first document even before the birth registration!

    Still a great little reader too! You’ve done the right thing Jonny!

  26. Blimey, is she still only a toddler? Surely she must be a teenager by now?

    Personally I think books are overrated. Any old idiot can write one.

  27. If the idea of the online book club fails, you could always settle for

    http://www.ratemypoo.com

  28. We are off there again this afternoon. Honestly, they have loads and loads of books there. Quite a big ‘large print’ section as well. In fact I’ve never seen so many ‘large print’ books in my life.

  29. Well, if we just stuck to public domain stuff – the “classics”, if you will – then we can have our online book club using online books!

    Finnegans Wake should prove a bracing opener…

  30. Ooh, so if I am ever in Norwich and in need of an urgent e-mail fix can I borrow your PIN number? Or should I get my own copy of the Internet with me just in case?

    🙂

    UT

  31. What happened to the chicken? I want to hear chicken stories. Did they lay the eggs they were supposed to lay? Did they run away? Did the sky fall on them? Did you or Foxy Loxy eat ’em all?

  32. Did you know that The Forum is the most popular library in the entire COUNTRY? You have just joined the most happening library in the whole of the UK. Frankly, I pity libraries without their own branch of Pizza Express.

  33. I did not know that. That is the great thing about the internet – you learn new things every day. Only yesterday I found out who played guitar on ‘Feel Like Making Love’.

    Hullo Womaninblack and welcome!!!

  34. The internet has sort of ruined my want to read books – it seems to only be granite worktops related information these days, but heck I do run a granite worktops blog..

    Ciao

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