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.