Life on Florida’s West Coast

Summer Reading Obstacles

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It is a shame that when we need the library the most, they really are not there for us. Not only do school workers like me not get paid over the summer, I am also dealing with the loss of my postiin at the school and the reality that a lot of us who were laid off might not find slots this fall. I am sure it will work out in the end, but things are tense right now. I depend on the local library more than ever to ensure my daughter and I have lots to read this summer without breaking the bank.

But, our local government is seeing some of the same financial woes that the school bard is seeing and they have cut library hours drastically. Most branches are only open in the evenings a couple of days a week all branches shut down two days out of the week. You should see how CROWDED the libraries are now when they are open. The irony is that more people than ever are using their servers and they have to fit all those people into less hours. Yikes. Don’t expect a quiet place to study at any of the libraries around here. They are mini madhouses filled with people eating in line for computer access, crowding into the video aisles, and jockeying for the best books in the children’s section. Oddly, the people who WORK at the library are the loudest ones of the bunch, but that’s more appropriate for a letter to the editor than a blog article.

Anyway, you can see how much I rely on the library for our household book consumption. Even with my complaints, I would rather see my daughter spend time reading than doubling up her time on the computer or spending too much time in the hot, Florida mid-day sun. The library is the one local tax-funded amenity I really use and I try to do my part to help. I donate books, help with fundraisers and gladly overpay on fines. It’s just so flipping stressful to go there now and fight the hoards. I have had a stack of books to return sitting on my foyer table for a week. In the meantime, I have actually made two trips to the Barnes & Noble around the corner and purchased some of the books I have been eager to read. It just seems easier. I find that I am avoiding the library for the same reason I avoid the Mall – too many people rudely jostling for position, too many out-of-control kids, and not enough incentive to stay.

On the other hand, my daughter and I are both re-discovering some of the books we already have on our bookshelves. Re-reading is a luxury I rarely make time for and now is the time to remedy that.

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