Monday, August 19, 2013

Culture Shock, Encore


(Perhaps I should start every culture-shock post that way.)

I went to college in Ohio.  Almost every college and university in the whole state is part of the OhioLink network, whereby Person A, in Podunk, Ohio, can have access to the full state-library system, plus obscure works on redwork embroidery residing in Bowling Green, for example.  The public library system was also very, very good.

I then went to grad school in the northeast.  While the public library was only so-so, it did have a relatively good selection. Also, Snooty U apparently had an enormous and undertapped request-to-purchase fund, because I requested probably a hundred trashy novels in six years (mystery, science fiction, and even, yes, trashy romance) and they bought every single one for me.

After that, I moved to Midwest Utopia. Its motto could be "Where we spend your tax dollars wisely on books, schools, and outdoor recreation."  The library network was likewise very good, part of a several-county system, and they also bought a lot of new books, some of which I asked for.

The library here is part of no system whatsoever.  The next county over's library is also not part of a system.  Of the fifteen books I was planning to read next, and which are all non-obscure works of fiction, they have exactly zero.  They don't even have a copy of "The Deed of Paksenarrion."  (I had to explain to my spouse that this is one step up from not having "The Hobbit.")

Although I have, at N's excellent suggestion, joined Paperback Swap, I have several problems:

1) I have no spare paperbacks because I ditched them all while moving;
2) I read really, really fast;
3) I read a lot;
4) I cannot possibly afford to buy enough books, new or used, to amuse myself.  (On average, I read a book every 1.25 days.)

To cap it off, this library possesses no "Request to Purchase" form on its website, though it does have a "Request to Withdraw from Circulation" form online. And that, right there, tells you all you need to know.


  1. Oh, you poor dear! I have at least a dozen unused credits to Paperbackswap, email me a wish list and I'll send you some books. It might be time for you to invest in an e-reader. You can check out ebooks from the Midwest Utopia library, and Project Gutenburg has made SO many classics available. Not to mention, free ebooks through Amazon for Amazon Prime members. All this is cheaper than a brand-new $7 paperback every day!

    Also, I am adding "The Deed of Paksenarrion" to my list. Somehow, I have never heard of it!

    My weekend Up North was delightful for many reasons, but the most delightful experience was having time to read a whole book in one day. Also, I took a nap. There's nothing like reliving your childhood while your parents watch your children. (I am currently re-reading the Harry Potter series. After a 5-year hiatus, the books are new enough to me to be interesting again. I'd forgotten about Peeves the Poltergeist!)

    In my head, I'd been advocating for Mr. Dr. Scientist to stay at current university when offered a permanent position, but if that is what the library situation is like... At least in Small Town where I grew up, we could drive to Larger Town and visit their fantastic library, and library system.

    Hey, how is the university library?

    1. Oh! We do have a tablet. I forgot that I still have a card at Midwest Utopia. Well, I did pay taxes....

      I think ideally, he gets a job here, I get a job too, and then I just buy a lot of books. That would be an acceptable solution.

      The university library is great... for nonfiction. I doubt, as the spouse of a visiting prof, I can convince them to ILL everything I want to read. It has to be mailed here individually, I'm pretty sure.

  2. Yeah, I had to get used to our pitiful library holdings in small town too. No real advice there unfortunately. Love Paksennarion and have the original trilogy in paperback, I've reread them multiple times and they are getting a little worn though.

  3. Totally never heard of Paksennarion (and I worked in a college library where we regularly gathered lots of fiction for everyone via ILL) but I will add it to the list now. Boo on lousy libraries. Libraries are the best!

  4. Oh! It just occurred to me that you should check out Goodreads dot com too since sometimes there are free e-books available there. Something on my list just turned up as an in-app e-book once when I added it to my "I want to read" shelf.

    1. Excellent suggestion, thank you! I mostly don't use it because it's a pain putting in 300 books a year... but if they have FREE BOOKS I'm all about that.

  5. Anonymous9:26 AM

    OH MAN. The "withdraw" business brought an actual tear to my eye. One of the things that made me fall in love with my husband is that he was running a free online lending library, just for fun. He'd set up a database of all his books, and anyone could have one sent for free, with a postage paid return envelope. But enough about his awesomeness. I am sorry you find yourself in this sad situation.

    1. To be fair, one of the questions is "Have you ever read any of the book to which you are objecting? How much?"

      Your spouse is clearly a fine and upstanding person worthy of your affection (well, at least most of the time; Lord knows I want to whack mine with a skillet sometimes. But I digress).

  6. If Dr spouse's university is like the one I've mostly worked at, they will be happy to ill for you, if only because the students never use it. Kids these days. Digital age, I tell you what.

    Meanwhile, thrift stores? Cheap used book store? I second the end reader recommendations. Amazon has lots of classics for free or a buck.

    1. My tablet is about to get a lot more use for sure. :) Bizarrely, they have all the classics in their OverDrive collection here - just not anything people want to... read. (I know, I know: they're free.)

      There is one thrift store in town, a Goodwill, and if you don't want to read Christian fiction/ Westerns/ trashy poorly-written romance, you're out. The used book stores are neither cheap nor well-stocked. Small town, emphasis on SMALL.

      I thought about ILL (kids nowadays indeed) but decided that until the hiring cycle is over and we know if they're going to hire Dr. S or not, I shouldn't piss the librarians/college off by blowing their budget. Otherwise, you bet I'd make them get it all for me.

  7. Anonymous2:55 PM

    I can hardly believe I'm saying this (given my strong dislike of them), but perhaps investing in an e-reader is the answer?

    1. Already have one! The problem is book supply. I still have an account in Cold State... maybe my friend in Our Nation's Capitol could be convinced to connive with me. Their library will definitely have an e-book selection superior to Cold State (good, but still tending heavily towards James Patterson and wossaname.... Dan Brown).

  8. Horrible! I second the e-reader idea. I love my kindle, and my other kindle (one is e-ink, on is LCD).

    I have on my feed reader and I have over 12K books on my Amazon acct. Most were free. Most are not very great, but a lot are! I also read a lot, and very fast. I did PBS for awhile. You can buy credits from other members, as well as from the site.

  9. Anonymous3:25 PM

    Ugh. That's HORRIBLE. Can you get ebooks from your old library?

    What about my sister gets books from there.


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