Thursday, December 16, 2010

EDITORIAL: A Fondness for Books and Libraries

From The Editor
By Patrick Jason Rodriguez

I wasn’t much of a reader of books between the ages of five and 17. In fact, I wasn’t much of a reader before the age of five, either. Seriously, though, it wasn’t until I reached college that I developed my current love for literature.
My favorite venue to read books has always been a bookstore, both the corporate chains and independently owned ones. I apologize if that means I have let some of you down. And that isn’t a knock on libraries, of course. My preference for bookstores has to do with these establishments allowing me to drink coffee, read a newspaper from Burlington, Vt., online, and use my mobile phone to make a call while simultaneously perusing some sort of novel (I rarely read non-fiction nowadays). There aren’t many public librarians around that don’t frown upon such activities when you’re inside a library, and I would like to see it kept that way. 
Like I said, I’m not putting down libraries when I say that I prefer to read books elsewhere, or when I mention the advantages of living in the 21st century while patronizing bookstores, especially the corporate chains. Quite the contrary. I like that some many public libraries do not reek of coffee and blare saccharine pop music at an uncompromising volume. There’s indeed something wonderful about the smell of books and serenity of no music. Not even classical music, which I don’t like anyway.
The smell of books was one of the first things that I noticed upon entering the Socorro Public Library on Tuesday night. It was the library’s 86th birthday, and there was a celebration going on, including music and refreshments. It was also my first time inside this particular library. The other thing was how organized everything seemed.
Despite it being after hours, I was allowed a few minutes to snoop around the shelves, and so I went right away for the fiction area. I have always done this one test where when I enter a public library for the first time I check to see if there are any books written my favorite, P.G. Wodehouse, available on the shelves. I wasn’t disappointed, as I counted a grand total of five books written by the greatest comic writer in the English language. One of these days I am going to check out a copy of “The World of Jeeves”.
A few minutes later I was sitting down waiting for the entertainment to begin. The singing group Las Cantantes and the musical duo of Toby and Ermie Jaramillo performed well.   Afterward, those in the audience were allowed to sing along to holiday classics, and I joined in even though I’m not much of a singer and normally I would rather be rebuked by a librarian than sing in public. 

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