For years now, I’ve been a very very committed buyer of books. I’m obsessed with Amazon, Powell’s, local bookstores like Kramerbooks in DC, and so many more. I feel like by buying books, I’m supporting the authors I love (and an industry that I love, for that matter).
But when money suddenly became a little tight, I knew that I could not maintain my book buying habit. I mean, let’s be honest – this past week alone I read five books. That’s unsustainable if you’re buying them full price from pretty much any retailer.
So when it came time to pick up my monthly #ReadwithIBC books, I had a momentary panic.
And then I remembered that libraries exist.
I actually live in the neighborhood of one of the oldest and most awesome libraries in the country – the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The Enoch Pratt was founded in 1882 following the financial endowment from Enoch Pratt – who called for a public circulating library that (as he described) “shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who, when properly accredited, can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them.” And thus, the Enoch Pratt was born.
Today, Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt system includes 22 community and regional branches, and continues to be housed at a monumental central building that takes up most of a city block in the historic Cathedral Hill.
I wandered into Enoch Pratt with proper documentation (kind of excessive, actually), and picked up the first library card I have had in about a decade.
Although Kate will probably give me a solid teasing for it, I had really forgotten what an amazing resource our public libraries can be. The last couple months of wandering the stacks, consulting with the librarians, and chatting with fellow community members has opened my eyes to countless new books.
As a child of the 90s, I was a dedicated library goer. I don’t think that anyone (bookworm or not) got out of the 90s without participating in Book It! at least one summer (btw, apparently their reading challenges still exist for kiddos). I remember coming in and digging around for the perfect book, finding all of my favorites again and again, and listening to the librarians and volunteers reading aloud. I suppose a lot of people rediscover a love of libraries after having kids, but I’m happy to have made my own rediscovery.
Do you still have a library card?